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"Assisted dying expert" joins island debate

Wednesday 11 April 2018

"Assisted dying expert" joins island debate


A Scottish expert "leading the fight" to improve end of life care and to legalise assisted dying for those with terminal illnesses is due to be in Guernsey today to share her knowledge and experience with those campaigning for a change to the law in Guernsey.

Amanda Ward, CEO of Friends at the End - an organisation campaigning for assisted dying in Scotland - plans to spend the day explaining the background of an attempt made during the last Scottish political term to alter the law in Scotland and what lessons were learned then.

Ms Ward’s visit comes in advance of the debate on a requete led by Deputy Gavin St Pier, and supported by six of his political colleagues, which seeks an "in-principle agreement" that Guernsey will introduce some form of legal regime for assisted dying.  If agreed by the Assembly next month, a working group including doctors, would be directed to develop detailed proposals for the legal regime, which would come back to the States for further debate in due course.

"As secretary of the Cross Party Group in the Scottish Parliament on End of Life Choices it is important we reach out with other jurisdictions on these issues to build our own understanding," Ms Ward said.

"Although an Assisted Suicide Bill was defeated by the Scottish Parliament during its last term, support doubled from previous efforts.  Since the new Parliament was elected in 2016, we have had numerous conversations with new and returning MSPs and detect even more support for action on this issue in Scotland."

FATE believes that all of the legitimate concerns people have about assisted dying can be overcome by ensuring sufficient safeguards are in place at a medical and legal level.  This would ensure medically assisted dying was available to all mentally competent adults with a terminal illness provided it is only at their own request.

"I look forward to sharing our own experiences to date as well as my knowledge from studying similar laws around the world and to learning more about the approach Guernsey States Members are considering and if these could be adapted to Scotland in the future," she continued.

"Leadership on this important issue of self-determination by a small jurisdiction such as Guernsey reflects positively on the island as a compassionate, mature, progressive place."

Gavin St Pier

Deputy St Pier said: "I’m delighted to welcome Amanda to Guernsey to share her vast experience in both campaigning for change in Scotland and analysing the legal and regulatory hurdles that would need to be cleared should the States vote to agree in principle to the development of a regime which will improve the end of life choices for islanders."

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