Edinburgh MP criticises UK Government over failure to gather evidence on assisted dying
Edinburgh West Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine has criticised the UK Government after it emerged it makes no estimate of the number of terminally ill people who end their own lives each year.
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Ms Jardine, who wants ministers to establish a “long overdue” inquiry into assisted dying, called on the government to step up urgently its plans to gather evidence on the issue.
She said public opinion on the matter had shifted in recent years with 82 per cent of people in the UK now supporting a change in the law.
She said: “As it stands, the government does not even estimate the number of people diagnosed with a terminal illness who end their own lives each year. That needs to change.
“We also need to see a national debate and the government to introduce plans for a long overdue inquiry into assisted dying. It is all about gathering evidence so that we know the best approach to support people suffering from terminal illnesses.
“We need to understand what people are afraid of so we can consider the safeguards. These are all necessary steps in ensuring that the law is improved to provide greater choice and compassion.”
Ms Jardine, who led a Westminster Hall debate on the issue last year, asked what estimate Department for Health and Social Care had made of the number of people diagnosed with a terminal illness who end their own lives each year.
Nadine Dorries, Minister of State for Mental Health, Suicide Prevention and Patient Safety, responded in a written answer: “We have made no such estimate.”