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Dignity in Dying welcomes call for better regulation of assisted dying in Switzerland

The Swiss cabinet has announced plans to address concerns around assisted suicide clinics. Two Bills have been put forward by the cabinet for public consultation until 1st March 2010. One Bill calls for an outright ban on assisted suicide, whilst the cabinet?s preferred proposal would restrict assisted dying to terminally ill, mentally competent people. The Swiss cabinet wants to ensure that people choosing an assisted death are doing so as a last resort. Dignity in Dying will be studying the detail of the proposals, and whilst opposed to an unlikely outright ban, we welcome sensible restrictions which better safeguard UK citizens who are considering an assisted death abroad.

Commenting, Sarah Wootton, Chief Executive of Dignity in Dying said:

“Dignity in Dying welcomes plans by the Swiss authorities to safeguard assisted dying by restricting it to terminally ill, mentally competent people. People who are suffering at the end of their lives will understandably seek to control the time and manner of their death. Given the lack of a safeguarded law here, Britons will continue to travel abroad to be assisted to die. However, individual patient autonomy has to be balanced against the need to protect potentially vulnerable people. This proposal seeks to address this balance. In July, Dignity in Dying supported a proposal by Lord Falconer, the former Lord Chancellor, to introduce similar upfront safeguards to our law. Sadly, these were rejected by a small majority in the House of Lords. We look forward to a positive outcome from the Swiss public consultation.”

“Ultimately we cannot rely on the Swiss to provide a compassionate solution for Britons suffering at the end of their lives. Dignity in Dying would like to see a change in the law to allow safeguarded assisted dying for terminally ill, mentally competent adults in the UK.”


About Dignity in Dying:

– Dignity in Dying campaigns for greater choice, control and access to services at the end of life. It advocates providing terminally ill adults with the option of an assisted death, within strict legal safeguards, and for universal access to high quality end-of-life care.

– Dignity in Dying has over 100,000 supporters and receives its funding entirely from donations from the public.

– Opinion polls consistently show that at least 80% of the UK population supports a change in the law on assisted dying.

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