Assisted Dying- A Policy Statement

Willen Hospice-A Policy Statement

Assisted dying is a term that describes the situation where a person is helped to end his/her own life (assisted suicide), or where there is a deliberate act to end a person’s life (euthanasia).

We understand that people and organisations have strong opinions on this sensitive and emotive issue. For some patients, the possibility of assisted dying raises complex questions about autonomy, suffering, and the nature of a good death. We also acknowledge the ongoing public discourse and recognise the diverse perspectives on this sensitive issue.

However, the ethos of hospice and palliative care, intends neither to hasten nor postpone death, affirms life, and recognises dying as a natural process. It is also currently, against the law to encourage or assist a person to commit or attempt suicide. Therefore, Willen Hospice does not provide, or advocate for assisted dying. Our focus is on providing high-quality palliative and end of life care, which aims to relieve suffering and provide comfort and well-being for all patients, regardless of their diagnosis or prognosis.

We are committed to providing compassionate and respectful care to all patients and their families regardless of their beliefs on assisted dying. We offer open and honest communication about prognosis and treatment options, including comprehensive information about palliative care and its benefits. We also support patients and families in making informed decisions about their end-of-life care, respecting their individual beliefs and values.

Hospice UK estimates that one in four people currently do not receive the specialist palliative care they need because of marginalisation and exclusion, exacerbated by a postcode lottery of patchy, uneven services and funding. We believe that the assisted dying debate must include discussion about how we can make good palliative care available and accessible to everyone, whoever they are and wherever they live.

While we respect the right to individual autonomy and choice, we also have significant concerns about the potential risks and unintended consequences of legalising assisted dying. We are of the opinion that any potential legalisation of assisted dying would require robust safeguards to prevent coercion, abuse, and potential errors in judgment.

The legalisation of assisted dying raises profound moral and ethical questions about the definition of a good death, the role of healthcare professionals, and the sanctity of life. We believe these questions require careful consideration and broader societal dialogue.

If/when there are changes to the legislation, the hospice will revisit this statement.

In a typical year...
our cost, per minute
phone calls to patients at home
fabulous volunteers
patients cared for at home
home visits
patients at the hospice
of cups of tea
counselling sessions
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