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Call for support in Surrey to change the law on assisted dying

3 minute read
Call for support in Surrey to change the law on assisted dying

Published at 12:35pm 16th January 2018. (Updated at 12:53pm 16th January 2018)

A former Guildford nurse is launching a local pressure group campaigning to change the law on assisted dying.

It is the first in Surrey to join a network of 33 across the country supporting the organisation Dignity in Dying.

It is calling for the law to be changed to allow terminally ill, mentally competent adults the option of an assisted death.

Vicky Rimmer is behind the new Surrey group, the aim of which she said is to raise awareness and increase support.

She also said it was hoped people could be encouraged to put pressure on their local MP to support a change in the law.

The local group meets for the first time tonight at 7pm at the Guildford Institute in the town centre - and is open to all.

A representative from Dignity in Dying will be speaking at the meeting. 

Vicky said her more than 39 years of work in the NHS - during which time she said she witnessed many deaths - motivated her to get involved in Dignity in Dying.

Vicky explained, "It seems to me at the ending of your life that you should have, if you are mentally competent and terminally ill, the right to choose how and when you exit it. Pain and suffering are very individual and subjective states. Only the person suffering can know how bad it is and should be able to choose to end that suffering.

"I am also of the belief that if you are equipped with the means to end your suffering, your anxiety levels would reduce greatly, and with it, the worry of more unendurable pain. Personally I would feel happier to know that I had the option if I ever became terminally ill.

She said Dignity in Dying "is targeting people who have been assessed by two doctors, who are mentally competent and have a definite diagnosis of terminal illness...it's not targeted at anybody who hasn't got a terminal diagnosis in this campaign."

Dignity in Dying has been supporting Noel Conway, a 68-year-old man with terminal motor neurone disease, to bring a judicial review challenging the current law on assisted dying.

Following a hearing at the High Court in July 2017, a judgment was handed down in October 2017 denying permission for the case to proceed.

A hearing is due to take place at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Thursday January 18 to determine whether Mr Conway and his legal team are granted permission to appeal this decision.

If successful the case will proceed to the Court of Appeal.


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