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Right to die scheme piloted

A controversial new scheme is being piloted which allows people to refuse treatment in a medical emergency - effectively handing them the right to die.

The pilot scheme has been launched by Salford City Council, which has defended criticism from pro-life groups by saying it is simply allowing people to make their own choice.

The council is offering residents an Advanced Decision to Refuse Treatment card which instructs doctors not to treat a patient who have lost the capacity to make decisions because of an accident or illness.

Dubbed the "right to die" card, critics have said it is nothing more than a short-cut to euthanasia, but its backers say it is an ideal way to implement the new Mental Capacity Act.

The act allows adults to draw up "advance directives" stating what sort of treatment they do not want in the event that they lose capacity. These directives build on the principle of "living wills", but mean that doctors are legally bound to abide by a patient's wish to refuse life-sustaining treatment.

Salford City Council has stressed that advance decisions are not only about death but can also include preferences about what treatment and care patients do want.

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Mental Capacity Act

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