A Scottish bid to legalise assisted suicide is “unnecessary, unethical and dangerous”, and could lead the vulnerable to feel they have a “duty to die”, campaigners say.

That’s the message from Care Not Killing, which opposes the Bill by MSP Margo MacDonald. The Scottish BMA also raised concerns.

The medical group said it would oppose the Bill, saying doctors would be taking on a role “alien” to their position as care givers if they were allowed to help kill people.

Dr Peter Saunders, Campaign Director of Care Not Killing, cautioned: “The right to die can so easily become the duty to die and vulnerable people who are sick, elderly or disabled will inevitably feel pressure, whether real or imagined, to end their lives so as not to be a burden on others.”

And Dr Gordon Macdonald, Convenor of Care Not Killing Scotland, said: “Margo MacDonald’s Bill is unnecessary, unethical and dangerous.

“Experience from Oregon, Belgium and the Netherlands shows that there can be no safe system for legalising assisted suicide or euthanasia.”

Under the new proposals, people as young as 16 with a terminal illness or progressive life-shortening condition would be allowed to tell their GP about their wish for assisted suicide.