Friends at the End today (Thursday 9th February 2017) welcomed the approval of the Cross Party Group on End-of-Life Choices by the Scottish Parliament’s Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee.
This represents the first time that assisted dying researchers, advocates and campaigners have had a dedicated forum within the Scottish Parliament to discuss issues of choices which can occur towards the end of someone’s life.
George Adam MSP, convenor of the new Cross Party Group, welcomed the move, saying:
This is an incredible opportunity to have an open, frank discussion on the choices that we are faced with at the end of life. I look forward to being able to having the important debate and discussion, without hiding behind the issues. We want to speak openly and honestly to supporters and opponents of increased choice at the end of life and to face these difficulties head-on.
Sheila Duffy, spokesperson for Friends at the End, said:
During the debate in 2015, the Scottish public demonstrated their overwhelming support for assisted dying. We have worked to keep the debate in the minds of our elected representatives so it can be given the serious consideration that it merits, as well as to discuss the genuine concerns held by some MSPs.
The work of the group will focus on various issues relating to end-of-life choices and assisted dying, with robust debate and analysis of the issue. The group will also seek to work jointly with the CPG on Palliative Care to ensure that valuable service is available and fully funded.
The next meeting of the group, on the 28th of March, will look at Advanced Directives, a tool that allows individuals define their end-of-life wishes, aiding the family and loved ones in the event that they are incapacitated.
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Notes to Editors
- Friends at the End is a Scottish based organisation promoting knowledge about end-of-life choices. Choice is available at every stage in our lives except death — not everyone dies an easy death, and FATE believes in choosing how, when and where we make our exit when we have physically suffered enough.
- Assisted dying is legal in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Canada, Switzerland and six states in the United States of America.
- Cross Party Groups are apolitical discussion groups within the Scottish Parliament, where members of the public and interested organisations can contribute to wider discussions.