The UK offers those who are dying the best end-of-life care in the world, according to a new study.
The results are likely to be welcomed by pro-lifers who have long warned that any relaxation of the UK’s assisted suicide laws would negatively affect end-of-life care.
The study, entitled The Quality of Death: Ranking End-of-Life Care Across the World, revealed that the UK leads the world in providing high quality end-of-life care.
This position stands in stark contrast to Switzerland, where assisted suicide is currently legal, which ranked 19th out of the 40 countries included in the survey.
The research, carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit, revealed that the UK performed particularly well at providing pain relieving drugs to those who are dying.
Public awareness, training availability and doctor-patient transparency were other areas that the UK performed well in.
David Praill, Chief Executive of Help the Hospices, welcomed the news but cautioned that end-of-life care must continue to receive adequate resources.
Mr Praill said: “Hospice care was pioneered in the UK and it is heartening to see the UK coming top of the index.
“Our ageing population means more people will be dying and they will be dying with more complex needs.
“It is vital we have a fair and sustainable system of funding that meets the needs of people at the most vulnerable time of their lives.”
The report was commissioned by a Singaporean philanthropic organisation known as the Lien Foundation.
To compile their report researches analysed official stats and interviewed health care professionals in 40 countries.
Australia ranked second in the list, closely followed by New Zealand, and India came last.
Last month over 14,000 people signed a petition against a Bill which would legalise assisted suicide in Scotland.
The End of Life Assistance (Scotland) Bill, proposed by independent MSP Margo MacDonald, would allow the terminally ill and people who are “permanently physically incapacitated” to seek assistance in ending their lives.
And earlier in the month a Holyrood consultation revealed that many Scots remain steadfastly opposed to the controversial Bill
The consultation revealed that 86 per cent of respondents, some 601 people and organisations, were opposed to it.