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As part of the Dutch system of transparency in its Termination of Life upon Request law, this week the Health Minister provided a report to the Dutch Parliament outlining the backlog which the increase in requests for euthanasia from mental health patients has created.

While Dutch psychiatrists are supportive of the right of those suffering from psychiatric illness to request euthanasia, far fewer are willing to get involved, or feel competent to do so.

Instead, psychiatrists tend to refer their patients to the Euthanasia Expertise Center in The Hague. This, in turn, has created a backlog with a current wait period of 2 years.

Health Minister Kuipers has reiterated the policy vision that: ‘‘People with a persistent euthanasia request on psychological grounds should be able to count on help at the right time, in the right place and preferably without a (long) wait’.

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