At the fringe events the discussions centred on whether an assisted dying law could provide both greater patient choice and public safety at the end of life. The events were a great success with thoughtful presentations from members of the panel, including Andrew George MP, Heidi Alexander MP, Guy Opperman MP and Farah Nazeer from the Motor Neuron Disease Association. We also heard emotional and moving accounts from many of the attendees who shared their experiences of a loved one dying.
There were also questions on the practicalities of an assisted dying law, which will feed into the draft assisted dying Bill consultation – commissioned by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Choice at the End of Life in partnership with Dignity in Dying. This Bill would allow a dying, mentally competent adult to request an assisted death, subject to verification of prognosis and capacity by two doctors and other upfront safeguards.
The majority of attendees took a copy of the consultation away to look at in more detail, and there were expressions of encouragement in the campaign’s progress. Nevertheless, everyone was conscious of the challenges ahead and the increased efforts required to get a more compassionate law onto the statute book.