The calls of the ‘assisted dying’ lobby for legalisation often make it sound like a well-established, evidence-based healthcare intervention. It is not.
Baroness Meacher’s current Assisted Dying Bill, heading to the Lords tomorrow for a second reading, proposes broad ‘safeguards’ for assisted suicide. But there is a worrying lack of evidence that they are effective or verifiable. For one, increasing evidence in jurisdictions where physician-assisted suicide is legal shows that palliative care services are being detrimentally impacted. Physicians have reported that patients are hesitant to enrol in palliative care and hospice services for fear that they promote euthanasia. Based on the concerns of patients and practitioners, some hospice facilities in Canada have refused to incorporate the practice within the scope of their services.