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  • Writer's pictureAmy Nickell

Would you support assisted dying?

Updated: Jan 11

Today with Alexis Conran, I was asked ‘Should assisted dying be legalized in the UK?’.

Having little time to express my thoughts on such a clearly sensitive subject, I wanted to properly articulate my primary concern here.

I fail to see how the UK can be prepared to change the law until it reforms and regenerates the care currently given to our elderly and dying. Much like our NHS, the state of social care and palliative care are both sorely neglected and underfunded.

I cannot overstate how expensive getting old and dealing with health issues is for the individual and the state. On average, people in the UK will spend £100,000 on social care in their later years, and there's a real risk of losing your home in the process.

Now, if your personal capital, including stuff like your car, home and savings, is more than £23,250, you're funding *all* your care costs. If it's less, you'll pay what you can from your income, although the local authority may contribute towards the fees. Nursing homes cost £4,160 a month on average, and if you sadly ever require live-in palliative care, it could start at £900 per week, going up to a £2,000 per week.

This is a heavy financial burden for most, hitting hardest those on the lower end of the income scale. All amid the UK's grappling with Victorian-era levels of inequality, an aging population, and a care sector with 22,000 job vacancies.

Although there's talk about reforming the social care system, the current state of end-of-life services means families are still dealing with terrifyingly huge financial hurdles. My worry is that if assisted dying was legalised without resolving this, it risks, in some cases, becoming an expected solution, under the guise of something compassionate. Until I see proof otherwise, it's hard for me to see true freedom of choice, especially for those with fewer means.

What do you think? Does this concern make sense, or do you see it differently? I’d love to hear your thoughts either way.


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