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Assisted Dying: What happens next?

Credit: Dignity in Dying campaigners outside the States building

Politicians in Jersey have agreed that an assisted dying service should be introduced to the island, but what does this mean?

Now the assisted dying proposition has been accepted, it means the government can start to develop a draft law.

This is expected to take 18 months and will have to go before the States Assembly again for politicians to accept it.

Health Minister Deputy Tom Binet says:

"I think there's sufficient support for it at this point in time, so I think it will go through."

Subject to it being passed, it will take a further 12 to 18 months to ensure all of the correct measures are in place and staff are trained. This means the island could see an assisted dying service in Jersey as early as 2027.

The service will only be available for people who are terminally ill (Route One), as States Members rejected Route Two which would have given the same life-ending choice to those in with an incurable physical medical condition that is causing unbearable suffering..

Arguments against Route Two included that it was a 'slippery slope' and 'too subjective'.

However, Deputy Binet does not believe this is the last Jersey will hear of it.

"We move forward in increments, and this is another increment, and I genuinely believe that a number of years from now Route Two will come back and that will be accepted as well.

"Perhaps people just need the confidence of knowing that Route One can be implemented, and implemented successfully, I think once that has been done it will be time to revisit."

Deputy Louise Doublet, who chaired the scrutiny panel that reviewed the assisted dying proposals, says it is weighing heavily on her that Route Two hasn't been accepted.

"That really concerns me and I really want to apologise to those people who are suffering at the moment and in the future may have needed this compassionate assisted dying option."

Campaigners Dignity in Dying have welcomed the States Assembly's approval of a service for terminally ill adult residents, calling it a victory for compassion and common sense.

Jennifer Bridge, leader of Jersey Assisted Dying Action Group said:

"Without offering our citizens this choice, many do suffer despite receiving excellent palliative care, some take their own lives and those with financial means may take the loneliest journey of their life and travel alone to Dignitas. I hope States Members will continue to give their support to this reform because the vast majority of us agree that an assisted dying law would be safer and kinder than the status quo.”

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