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Why Peers should reject the Assisted Dying Bill

Legalising assisted dying is the wrong answer to the right question. Let’s change the debate to focus on quality palliative care instead.

On Friday 22 October, Members of the House of Lords will once again consider the question of assisted suicide when Baroness Meacher’s Assisted Dying Bill has its Second Reading debate.

It is my view, along with many doctors and especially palliative care doctors and other doctors familiar with patients nearing the end of life, that this legislation is profoundly flawed. Not only would it not work out well in practice – due in part to aspirational but ineffectual safeguards – but it would also endanger some of the most vulnerable in our communities. This reality would be bad enough had we not experienced a global pandemic. But with NHS waiting times at record highs and a huge backlog of treatments and appointments still to be addressed which will run on for many years yet, there could scarcely be a worse time at which to introduce such seismic change.

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