A cross-party group of MPs has urged Parliament to invest in palliative care, after the resounding defeat of an attempt to introduce assisted suicide earlier this month.
In a letter to The Times, 60 MPs stress that good palliative care is something we “owe to our elderly and vulnerable”.
On Friday 11 September MPs voted by 330 to 118 to reject Rob Marris MP’s proposal to introduce assisted suicide.
In the letter, the MPs state that: “After informed, compassionate, reasoned and detailed contributions from all sides and all parties, more than half the House of Commons last week voted to reject the proposal that doctors should be licensed to help their patients kill themselves.”
They note that this “followed similar rejections in the Scottish parliament and Welsh assembly in the past year”.
The letter continues: “It is therefore now right that parliament, and the government, show the same rigour and compassion in seeking the best available care and support for those facing the challenge of terminal or chronic illness, and that substantially increased funds are provided to support end-of-life care and further research in this area, building on the huge progress made in this country on end-of-life care over recent decades.
“It is the least that we, as a society, owe to our elderly and vulnerable. In an aging population this is an urgent and essential responsibility.”
On 11 September, a Bill to legalise assisted suicide was soundly defeated in the House of Commons.
Following a lengthy debate, over half of all MPs voted against Rob Marris’ Private Members’ Bill.
The result came following pressure from disabled rights groups, the medical profession, religious leaders and a number of charities, including The Christian Institute.