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Second reading of UK Patient (Assisted Dying) Bill (6th June 2003)

The Bill, which was introduced by Lord Joel Joffe, a retired Human Rights lawyer who defended Nelson Mandela, proposes to: “Enable a competent person who is suffering unbearably as a result of a terminal or a serious and progressive physical illness to receive medical help to die at his own considered and persistent request; and to make provision for a person suffering from such a condition to receive pain relief medication.”

If instated, the Patient (Assisted Dying) Bill would enable physicians to assist a qualifying patient to die without fear of prosecution, subject to provisions of the Act. The Bill provides that the physician must be satisfied that the patient is mentally competent, and that his/her request has been made voluntarily, and is not the result of external pressure. The patient must have made a (witnessed) declaration in accordance with the Act, which will remain in force for six months unless it is revoked or renewed. Monitoring commissions covering countries or regions forming part of Great Britain would be established, to review the operation of the Act and monitor records maintained pursuant to this Act.

To date, no amendments have been tabled.

To read in full the Patient (Assisted Dying) Bill go here .