As a (now retired) oncologist, who practised for more than 30 years, I am surprised and very concerned that the commission established and funded by a pro-assisted suicide lobby group has recommended that the law be changed for those who, among other criteria, have an incurable illness and appear to have less than a year to live ("Give terminally ill right to die, report urges MPs", The Herald, January 5).

I hope they will find doctors far more capable than I have been (and those oncologists who examined Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi) at this imprecise exercise of guessing when someone may die. Their recommendations rely heavily on the ability of two doctors to agree on this difficult question. Doctors do attempt it and there are countless anecdotes from patients and relatives to attest to just how inaccurate this so often is – in both directions.

Assisted suicide is described as a human right by the campaigners who, in an endeavour to make more palatable to society the fact that doctors assist someone to commit suicide, want it restricted to those who fit neatly into the recommended criteria such as short prognosis.

If it is such a right, should not all be able to avail themselves of an early, easy death facilitated by an accommodating medical profession? Human rights demand that human society bears responsibilities. In this situation one responsibility is objectivity. Assisted suicide and euthanasia are, as I know from my clinical experience, hugely emotional, social, political and difficult issues to address – and they must be, but that has to be through truly objective, non-emotional processes and should not have to rely on clinical guess work.

Dr Alan Rodger,

8 Clairmont Gardens, Glasgow.

I was surprised to read that Margo MacDonald MSP plans to launch a further assisted suicide bill, barely a year after the last attempt was defeated by a convincing 85 votes to 16.

I was, however, not at all surprised by the result of the Falconer Commission. That it was supported by Dignity in Dying, funded by Terry Pratchett, and boycotted by, among others, the British Medical Association, which is opposed to assisted suicide, and with nine of its 11 "experts" known to be advocates of assisted suicide, its conclusions were somewhat inevitable. Is it not time these tiresome campaigns to change the law were laid to rest?

Dr Euan Dodds,

332 Crow Road, Glasgow.