We would like to clarify the position that St Gemma’s Hospice holds on Assisted Dying for those diagnosed as terminally ill and anticipated to be in the last months of life.
The term ‘Assisted Dying’ is often used to describe circumstances in which a person is either helped to end their own life (physician-assisted suicide), or where there is a deliberate act to end a person’s life (euthanasia).
Assisted Dying is a complex subject which raises challenging ethical questions for hospice care. St Gemma’s Hospice recognises that across society there is a range of different views, and respects the right of everyone to take an individual position. It is our view that the question of whether there should be a change in the law is one for society to consider and for the parliaments and assemblies across the UK to decide.
The St Gemma’s Hospice position is as follows:
St Gemma’s Hospice acknowledges the value of life and the importance of dignity in death. We provide and promote the highest quality palliative and end of life care.
St Gemma’s palliative care services seek to relieve suffering without intending to shorten or prolong life. Palliative care includes the right to decline medical interventions, and requires that a person is supported in either decision.
St Gemma’s Hospice believes that assisted dying (whereby lethal drugs are provided to assist a patient’s suicide) is not consistent with the provision of palliative care.
St Gemma’s Hospice aims to support improvements to deliver equal access to high quality, effective palliative and end of life care for all people at the end of life, whilst supporting families, friends and carers.
St Gemma’s Hospice – February 2016