Patrick Harvie MSP

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Health and Sport Committee 27 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Patrick Harvie (Glasgow) (Green)

I am the member in charge of the bill.



Health and Sport Committee 27 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Patrick Harvie

Thank you very much, convener.

On Dr Jeffrey’s last comment, I do not think that I have heard anybody in this evidence-taking session or at any other point in the discussion of the bill suggest that we should not give the best quality of palliative care that we can. Clearly, some people believe that that is compatible with having the option of assisted suicide, but I do not think that anybody has argued that we should not provide that level of care, stay with people and provide the greatest relief of suffering that we can.

I will try to identify some common ground between proponents and opponents of the bill although, given the evidence that we have heard, that might be a tough call—I understand that. I wonder whether I could suggest something that we might agree on. Whatever Parliament chooses to do with the bill—whether it passes the bill, rejects it or amends it—if simply debating the bill prompts greater focus of mind on and consideration of palliative care, the end-of-life situations that people may face, health inequalities and the need for decent, respectful and inclusive treatment, that would be of benefit. If simply debating the bill encourages a more open and discursive culture in relation to death, that would be of benefit.

If the bill was passed, the preliminary declaration mechanism would be one such opportunity for discussion, and I would like to hope that there might be some common ground about the benefit of that mechanism. It might become normal for us, when we are fit and well, to have a discussion with our doctor and have our general attitude to such issues recorded in our medical records. Would that create opportunities for a better and more open culture in which we could discuss the issues and make our wishes clear?



Health and Sport Committee 27 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Patrick Harvie

Does Mr Hazelwood want to comment further?



Health and Sport Committee 27 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Patrick Harvie

Surely that is why the multiple-stage process after that is an additional benefit. We are not saying in the bill simply that a person makes a request, the request is granted and the thing is done. The process is more involved than that.



Health and Sport Committee 27 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Patrick Harvie

Do I have time for another question, convener?



Health and Sport Committee 27 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Patrick Harvie

Arguments have been made about practical consequences, such as the risk of someone being subject to coercion and the perception that passing the bill would undermine political support for palliative care. However, other arguments have clearly been about fundamental principles, and I would like to explore the balance between the two.

The bill clearly envisages a range of circumstances in which people might request assisted suicide, and I invite people to consider what I might call the most clear end-of-life end of that range. We might be talking about someone who has had access to good-quality palliative care and who might well have a long-standing and clearly defined and articulated principle and attitude with regard to the concept of assisted suicide. They might no longer be contemplating other options because their death is imminent—they are dying, and that death is coming quickly—and their clear will is to say their goodbyes and die on their terms and at a time of their choosing. Is there a clear, principled reason why they should not be able to exercise that decision, or is it entirely a question of practical consequences, whether for society or other people or in relation to the risk of coercion? In short, I am talking about the balance between principle and practical consequences.



Health and Sport Committee 27 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Patrick Harvie

I accept that.



Health and Sport Committee 27 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Patrick Harvie

I understand that. I simply want to explore the balance between the arguments about principle and the arguments about pragmatism.



Health and Sport Committee 27 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Patrick Harvie

I think that I have raised the issues that I wanted to explore, convener.



Health and Sport Committee 27 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Patrick Harvie

I am a member for Glasgow and the member in charge of the bill.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-12182.1 Alex Fergusson: The Chilcot Inquiry—As an amendment to motion S4M-12182 in the name of N
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12182 Nicola Sturgeon: The Chilcot Inquiry—That the Parliament calls for Sir John Chilcot’s offi
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12176 John Swinney: Community Charge Debt (Scotland) Bill—That the Parliament agrees to the gene
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12160.2 Michael Matheson: Women Offenders—As an amendment to motion S4M-12160 in the name of Kez
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12160.3 Margaret Mitchell: Women Offenders—As an amendment to motion S4M-12160 in the name of Ke
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12160 Kezia Dugdale: Women Offenders—That the Parliament welcomes the decision of the Scottish G
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12154.1 Lewis Macdonald: Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) – Supporting Indivi
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12120.1 Jenny Marra: 2020 Vision, the Strategic Forward Direction of the NHS—As an amendment to
>> Show more
Not VotedDefeated

S4M-12101 John Swinney: Budget (Scotland) (No.4) Bill—That the Parliament agrees to the general prin
>> Show more
AbstainCarried

S4M-12095.4 Ken Macintosh: Tackling Inequalities—As an amendment to motion S4M-12095 in the name of
>> Show more
YesDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by Patrick Harvie
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11993.2: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 07/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11869: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 10/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11868: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 10/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11763.2: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 02/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11186: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 10/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11153: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 08/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11116.1.1: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 07/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10957: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 12/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10724.2: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 05/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10307.2: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 13/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Patrick Harvie
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4W-24008: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 14/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02497: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 15/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23379: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 21/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23380: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 21/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23381: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 21/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22962: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 30/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22906: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 20/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22907: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 20/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22908: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 20/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03596: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 01/10/2014 Show Full Question >>