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Health Policy. 2004 Sep;69(3):365-73.

Implementation of the project 'Support and Consultation on Euthanasia in The Netherlands' (SCEN).

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Department of Social Medicine, Institute for Research in Extramural Medicine, VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



In the project 'Support and Consultation on Euthanasia in The Netherlands' (SCEN), general practitioners (GPs) receive training in formal consultation and in giving expert advice to colleagues who have questions about euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide (EAS). This study describes the way in which this project was implemented in The Netherlands and how it was received by GPs.


In the period from April 2000 to December 2002, all GPs in the districts in which SCEN had been implemented received a written post-test questionnaire a year and a half after the start of the project. Registration forms were also filled in by the SCEN physicians and the GPs who contacted SCEN. The post-test questionnaire was returned by 60% of the GPs (n = 3614), and registration forms were returned by 86% (n = 3337) of the GPs who contacted SCEN.


The gradual nation-wide implementation of SCEN was completed within the 4-year study period. Almost all GPs were familiar with the project (99%) and most GPs knew what they could contact SCEN for. Most GPs felt supported by the presence of SCEN, and most GPs also had a positive attitude towards consultation and SCEN. GPs who had received an explicit request for EAS, or had performed EAS, often consulted SCEN physicians (71 and 85%, respectively). Reasons for contacting SCEN were: independence (60%), expertise (58%), and accessibility/availability of a consultant (45%). Reasons for not contacting SCEN were: enough other possibilities for counselling and consultation (48%) only at the beginning of the decision-making process (36%), and sufficient knowledge about EAS (22%). Most GPs intended to use SCEN in the future (96%).


The implementation of SCEN has been successful, according to the four steps for successful implementation: awareness, attitude, use and future use. In this respect, linking up with existing networks and good organisation may play an important role. Furthermore, GPs consider it important to have a facility like SCEN which they can contact concerning EAS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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