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Jersey Hospice Care Statement on Assisted Dying

Friday 05 Apr 2024

Updated 5 April 2024

In November 2021 Jersey’s States Assembly became the first parliament in the British Isles to decide ‘in principle’ that a person could be assisted to die either by taking medication or being given medication, subject to being a Jersey resident, safeguards being in place, and other specific conditions. Following this decision, in 2022 and 2023 there were a series of public engagement and consultations on assisted dying in Jersey. On the 22 March 2024 detailed assisted dying proposals were presented to the States Assembly and these proposals will be debated on 21 May 2024 by the States Assembly. The full detail of the proposal is available on the Government of Jersey website.

Since 2021 Jersey Hospice Care has acknowledged the assisted dying debate taking place in Jersey, we were fully engaged with the public consultation process that took place and remain in regular contact with the Government of Jersey. We welcome an open and honest debate on all aspects of care offered to those with a chronic and long-term illness, in particular those approaching the end of life. We believe it is important to talk about access to good and well-resourced palliative care and are encouraged by the dialogue and commitment to providing islanders with the best palliative care and end of life services.

We actively support dedicated professionals providing palliative care in care homes, the hospital and in the community. We support and encourage investment in education and care through the whole healthcare system that alleviates suffering, promotes listening and communication, through skilled, evidence-based interventions, meeting the personal, physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the person.

The European Association of Palliative Care (EAPC) has declared that the provision of euthanasia and assisted dying shall not be included in the practice of palliative care, a position that has remained unchanged for 50 years. This is a position that we support, and we believe that there is a very clear boundary between palliative and end of life care and assisted dying.

The focus of Jersey Hospice Care now and tomorrow shall always be about the living and living well and when the time comes to die naturally, all patients and those important to them should be made aware of the options for palliative care and should be offered an assessment of their individual needs to make sure that appropriate palliative care is being provided.

If there was to be a change in the law relating to assisted dying in Jersey, we believe that very careful consideration would need to be given to the effect it would have on anyone with a life-limiting condition, their care and the treatment choices offered to them, at a time when they are at their most vulnerable, and on those important to them.