130 Peers Debated Proposed Assisted Dying Bill

Over 130 Peers Debated The Assisted Dying Bill Last Week

21.07.2014

Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397
Around 130 peers contributed to discussions on the recently proposed Assisted Dying Bill on Friday (July 18th), which would allow doctors to prescribe a lethal dose to patients who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and have been given less than six months to live.

The legislation would enable terminally ill, mentally competent adults, who were making a choice of their own free will and after meeting stringent medical standards, to request their life be ended by the administration of medication by a doctor.

Should the bill be approved, two independent doctors would be required to confirm that the patient had made an informed decision to end their life.

The bill recently won backing from Liberal Democrat Care Minister Norman Lamb, who said he had changed his mind on the issue recently. He told BBC’s Newsnight that an individual should “make their own decision about their life” and said he would support the bill. 

However, Prime Minister David Cameron has said he is not convinced by the arguments for legalising assisted dying, claiming that some individuals may be pushed into something they do not want for themselves. He went on to state that he would welcome a debate on the issue in the House of Commons.

The Assisted Dying Bill has been proposed by Lord Falconer, who said the time had come for politicians to address a “really sensitive” issue.

Expert Opinion
This is an incredible sensitive area of healthcare law and any Bill concerning assisted dying must strike a fair balance between protecting vulnerable individuals, who may be subjected to pressure to commit to assisted dying without a real desire to do so, and the rights of terminally ill people who have a clear intention to end their lives because of the incredible pain they suffer, but are unable to do so without the assistance of another.

“There are safeguards in the Bill as it stands and the House of Lords discussed whether these are stringent enough to offer the necessary protection.

“Society has changed dramatically over the past few decades and healthcare innovations mean that people are living longer lives, placing different stresses on the NHS, and putting doctors and patients in different situations.

“Hopefully the debate in the House of Lords will ensure that this very sensitive area of law is brought up to date and individuals are offered autonomy and choice.”
Yogi Amin, Partner