Social Security (Special Rules for End of Life) Bill [Lords]

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:40 pm on 8th September 2022.

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Photo of Chloe Smith Chloe Smith Assistant Whip, The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 2:40 pm, 8th September 2022

The Chair of the Select Committee makes, as ever, a thoughtful point. I very much look forward to working with him and the Committee. Yes, our evaluation did look at exactly that point. As I was just coming on to argue, our approach brings a greater consistency with the NHS, which considers people to be

“approaching the end of their lives when they are likely to die within the next 12 months.”

That consistency is an important objective. At that 12-month point, clinicians are encouraged to think about the support that their patients need, including any financial support.

A point that I am sure my hon. Friend the Minister of State will draw out at Committee stage is that we also think it is important that clinicians can be supported to make the most consistent and straightforward decisions. Of course, in many cases that is not straightforward, but we want to enable clinicians to have the best chance of making a clear decision in support of their patient. That was the evidence that our evaluation found in favour of the 12-month definition. Indeed, that has been borne out by a great deal of support for what we have since been able to announce, which the right hon. Gentleman will be aware of from the various groups that support those in their last stage of life.