Assisted Suicide — Question for Short Debate

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 8:51 pm on 5th March 2014.

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Photo of Baroness Murphy Baroness Murphy Crossbench 8:51 pm, 5th March 2014

My Lords, I give my full support to the introductory speech from the noble Baroness, Lady Jay. However, I am abandoning the rest of my speech because I am so cross at what I have heard today, which I know to be totally false and I am tired of listening to it.

First, I say to the noble Baroness, Lady Campbell of Surbiton, that services for terminally ill people have got substantially better over the past five years. There is greater understanding and more talk about the issues surrounding death in hospital. The economic circumstances of this country have not led to greater disadvantage for people who are terminally ill; paradoxically, it has led to an improvement.

I should also like to tell the noble Baronesses, Lady Campbell and Lady Grey-Thompson, that it is impossible to conflate the problems of people who are terminally ill, are already dying and are about to die with those of people who have a chronic long-term disability and are not dying. We must distinguish between these two groups. That is crucial because they are completely and utterly different.

I should also like to say to my two medical colleagues behind me, the noble Baronesses, Lady Finlay and Lady Hollins, that, if their patients do not talk about dying or the wish to die when they are terminally ill, I just do not think they are listening very well.