Frequently asked questions


What is assisted dying?


Assisted dying is when a terminally ill, mentally competent adult makes the choice of their own free will to take prescribed medication to end their life. A dying person would only be eligible for an assisted death after meeting strict upfront safeguards. Including:

  • A prognosis of 6 months or less to live.
  • They must have a clear and settled intention to end their own life which is reached without coercion or duress.
  • Two doctors must agree the patient is eligible for assistance to die.
  • The final action must be taken entirely by the dying person

Assisted dying is currently illegal in the UK.


Why change the law to legalise assisted dying?


The law in the UK places an absolute ban on assisting another person to die. Assisting a suicide is an offence under the Suicide Act 1961, punishable with up to 14 years in prison. The Suicide Act is nearly 50 years old and is out of step with public opinion.

Our law is broken:


What is the Assisted Dying Bill?


Lord Falconer QC has tabled the Assisted Dying Bill, a Private Members Bill, in the House of Lords. It is expected to be debated at its Second Reading sometime after May 2014.

Dignity in Dying is campaigning in support of the Assisted Dying Bill because we believe it will give dying adults, whose suffering has become intolerable, choice and control over the manner and timing of their death.


What evidence is there to support assisted dying?


Assisted dying, as set out in the Assisted Dying Bill, was legalised in the US state of Oregon 16 years ago. Since then palliative care has improved and those who feared a change in the law are now satisfied their fears did not come true.

Many people who receive the prescription for life ending medication never use it. Knowing the choice is available to them provides comfort.

The law in Oregon allows dying people to plan the end of their life knowing they can take control of the manner and timing of their death if they wish.


What is the organisation Dignity in Dying?


Dignity in Dying is a not-for-profit membership organisation (not a charity) that campaigns, with its 25,000 members and supporters, to legalise assisted dying in the UK.

We believe that everyone has the right to a dignified death. This means:

  • Choice over where we die, who is present and our treatment options.
  • Access to expert information on our options, good quality end-of-life care, and support for loved ones and carers.
  • Control over how we die, our symptoms, pain relief and planning our own death.


You can help change the law


If you believe that no dying person should be forced to suffer against their wishes and that the law should change on assisted dying, please pledge your support now.