THE Winchester MP has led a committee that has published a major report on assisted dying.

Steve Brine, who chairs the Health and Social Care Select Committee in the House of Commons, led one of the biggest inquiries in parliamentary history for 14 months.

More than 68,000 responses were made by members of the public through an online form, with more than 380 pieces of written evidence submitted since the inquiry launched in December 2022.

The report was published on Thursday, February 29. The Winchester and Chandler’s Ford MP said he hopes it will act as a comprehensive basis for future debate in both Houses of Parliament.

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The cross-party group of MPs said their report presents a broad body of evidence as a ‘significant and useful resource’ for future debate rather than providing a resolution.

Mr Brine said; “The inquiry on assisted dying and assisted suicide raised the most complex issues that we as a committee have faced, with strong feelings and opinions in the evidence we heard.

“We intend the information and testimony we present in our report today to have a lasting legacy and, as we set out in the initial terms of reference, be a significant and useful resource for future debates on the issue. That could still be during this Parliament of course or after the next General Election.

“We’re particularly grateful to those who shared very difficult personal stories. The accounts were enormously helpful to us as we considered the issues involved and I’d like to put my thanks on record.”

Hampshire Chronicle: Steve Brine's visit to Trinity HospiceSteve Brine's visit to Trinity Hospice (Image: Steve Brine MP)

The report covers parliament and the current law, the government's role in the debate, international examples of jurisdictions where assisted dying and suicide is available, the involvement of physicians and assessments of eligibility and capacity to give informed consent and palliative and end-of-life care.

The committee identified the pursuit of high-quality compassionate end-of-life care as a common theme in the evidence it received. Also important was agency and control for the person dying.

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Assisted dying and assisted suicide is being considered in Jersey and the Isle of Man. The committee concluded that the government should be “actively involved in discussions” on how to approach possible divergence in legislation between jurisdictions.

During the inquiry, the committee visited Oregon, the first US state to legalise the practice, and collected evidence from international witnesses.

The report summarises that access and provision to palliative and and end-of-life is patchy. The committee recommends the government ensures universal coverage of palliative and end-of-life services, including hospice care at home, and more specialists in palliative care and end-of-life pain relief. The report urges the government to commit to supporting any hospices that require funding assistance.

The report also calls for new guidance from the GMC and the BMA to provide clarity to doctors on responding to requests for medical reports for applicants seeking assisted dying or suicide abroad.