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The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Dying Well has been set up to demand more investment in palliative care which enables people to die in peace, without pain and in dignity. The treatment is the main alternative to assisted suicide which is still not legal in Britain.
Members of the APPG believe palliative care is severely underfunded and are concerned that there will be another push to allow assisted suicide to be provided by the nHS in Britain and private contractors.
As well as a meeting with the Health Secretary the group plans to hear from doctors, lawyers and disability rights campaigners.
Former Downing Street special advisor Danny Kruger, now the MP for Devizes, has been elected chairman of the new APPG.
He said: “It’s disappointing that even before the end of the Covid pandemic, which has seen widespread discrimination against the elderly and disabled people, a small but vocal group of my colleagues are yet again calling on the Government to change the law [on assisted suicide].
“These calls fail to consider the many problems that are associated with ripping up universa protections that prohibit euthanasia, such as the normalisation of suicide in the general population.”
He pointed out that in the US state of Oregon, which euthanasia campaigners point to as a model on how to proceed, there has been an increase of sucides by 6.3 per cent since doctors were allowed to end somebody’s life at their request.
Mr Kruger said: “What this could look like if the UK replicated this mode is an extra 360 deaths by suicide a year.”
The group is also backed by former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, former Labour minister Stephen Timms, disability rights campaigners Lord Alton and Baroness Campbel, former Lib Dem leader Tim Farron, former British Medical Association president Baroness Hollins and 60 other cross party parliamentarians.
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