The APPG for Dying Well hosted a public event on Wednesday 8th November in the House of Lords, titled, ‘Why ‘assisted suicide’ harms the vulnerable and does not end suffering’.

Speakers from various jurisdictions who have either legalised, or are considering legalising, assisted dying gave contributions.

  1. Alex Schadenberg, from the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition in Canada, spoke about the incessant expansion of Medical Assistance in Dying to more and more demographics beyond the terminally ill.
  2. Dr Claud Regnard, an expert in Palliative Medicine, shared insights into:
    • The poor safeguarding in Oregon‘s Physician-Assisted Suicide model
    • The reduction in palliative care funding in New South Wales, Australia, when assisted dying was introduced
    • The level of unreported assisted deaths in Belgium (1 in 2) and the Netherlands (1 in 5)
    • The judgement made by the Danish Ethics Council in Denmark that euthanasia is in conflict with palliative care.
  3. Dr Gillian Wright (Our Duty of Care) and Gordon Macdonald (Care not Killing) from Scotland emphasised the medical community’s fears over legislation being introduced, and gave updates on the progression of the Private Member’s Bill on assisted dying being proposed in Holyrood.
  4. Dr Rachel Ruddy from Jersey discussed the public backlash to proposals of assisted dying legislation on the island. She also explained how proposers were finding it difficult to implement proper safeguards in a bill.
  5. Dr Graham McCall gave updates on the progression of the Assisted Dying Bill 2023 on the Isle of Man, pointing to the highly critical response of doctors on the island, with 74% opposing the Bill.

Various questions were raised from parliamentarians, including the financial savings governments make when they introduce assisted dying, the lack of research done into the ‘drug cocktails’ used, and the disinvestment in palliative care which often ensues once assisted dying is legalised.

“[I]f [assisted dying] were to be introduced by the McCarthur Bill in Holyrood, it would affect medicine in a way that we can’t imagine. “

Dr Gillian Wright, Our Duty of Care