Mobile euthanasia teams introduced in the Netherlands

The Hague-based pro-euthanasia group NVVE, which is coordinating the service, said it expected the doctor and nurse teams to push up the country’s rate of assisted suicide by more than one third or 1000 cases per year.

NVVE said in a statement the service would involve six teams targeting “borderline cases in which family GPs are reluctant to administer euthanasia”.

The service “is likely to be used with mentally ill patients or those with early dementia, involving the patient’s GP only if possible,” the group said.

It said the Dutch government supported the service, which must adhere to the 2002 law making The Netherlands the first country to legalise euthanasia when a patient’s suffering is lasting and unbearable.

Dutch health minister Edith Schippers first revealed plans for the mobile units in parliament last year, saying they were designed for “patients who