On friday MP’s voted overwhelmingly to reject the proposed assisted dying bill, which would have allowed people with less than six months to live to have been prescribed a lethal dose of drugs for them to be able to take their own life. It would have required the agreement of two doctors and a high court judge.
It would appear that MP’s opinion on the subject has changed little since it was last debated in 1997, and the feeling is that it is unlikely to be debated again in the near future.
Several MP’s expressed concern about the lack of protecttion the bill offered for the vulnerable in our society.
Dr Phillipa Whitford, a surgeon argued that people should be able to live their lives to the end and that ” with good palliative care the journey could lead to a beautiful death” Many were concerned about how possible it was to determine whether a person really had less than six months to live and that the bill might lead to people taking their lives prematurely.
This debate may be over for the moment but having spent many years working in a hospice I hope the decision will bring about improvements to the funding, training, accessibility, and communication of all the organisations currently providing palliative care,pain management, expensive cancer and other experimental drugs as well as marked improvements in the provision of social care.
Our MP’s have certainly not opted for the easy option!