I am writing to you as Chair of the APPG for Dying Well about an upcoming hybrid event on Monday 30th January 4:30-5:30 GMT in Committee Room 1 in the House of Lords.
In light of the recently opened assisted suicide inquiry by the Health and Social Care Committee and their call for evidence we have put together a hybrid event on ‘the Lessons from Canada’.
In Canada, where legislation was only introduced in 2016, assisted suicide already constitutes more than 3% of all deaths just a few years later. Assisted suicide legislation is currently being studied in Parliament to include minors and children within only five years and there are plans this year to expand it further to include mental illness as a qualify condition.
Vulnerable, impoverished and disabled people are being offered assisted suicide/euthanasia – which is cheaper – instead of financial help. It has been reported that those living in poverty as well as those who require more expensive long term medical care are instead being offered assisted suicide.
Furthermore, in Canada, less than half of those who participate in assisted suicide have even see a palliative care team, and the average growth in palliative care is far slower in countries which have brought in assisted dying than those without it. Canada is a striking warning of the consequences of assisted suicide and expansion of the law.
We will be joined by Palliative Care and medical experts Dr Leonie Herx and Dr Ramona Coelho. There will be time for Q&A after their presentations.
- Dr Leonie Herx MD PhD CCFP (PC) FCFP is a palliative consultant in Kingston, Ontario, Associate Professor and Division Head of Palliative Medicine at Queen’s University, and the Medical Director for Palliative Care at Kingston Health Sciences Centre and Providence Care Hospital. She is a past President of the Canadian Society for Palliative Care Physicians.
- Dr Ramona Coelho is a family physician in London, Ontario, Canada who cares for marginalized and vulnerable patients including those living with disabilities. She was an expert witness before the House and Senate committees examining Bill C-7 and the Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying in May 2022. She is a founding member of Physicians Together with Vulnerable Canadians.
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