Jersey Hospice Care Statement on Assisted Dying
Tuesday 01 Jun 2021
In November 2021, Jersey’s States Assembly became the first parliament in the British Isles to decide ‘in principle’ that assisted dying should be allowed and make arrangements for the provision of an assisted dying service. They agreed '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. The States Assembly are due to consider more detailed proposals on assisted dying in November 2022. Further information on the States Assembly decision is available on the Government of Jersey website.
Jersey Hospice Care acknowledges the assisted dying debate taking place in Jersey and we are in regular contact with the Government of Jersey and fully engaged with the public consultation process that is taking place. 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, to end of life services and the right to die well.
There are many areas of care that should be reviewed; and complex symptoms and severe pain continue to challenge even the most skilled clinicians. 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. 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 well, pain free and with dignity. 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.