Right to Die at Home Bill Passes First Reading in Lords

Topics covered: Ridouts professional advice

Lord Warner’s Right to Die at Home Bill passed its first reading in the House of Lords on the 28 July.

The Bill, if passed, would give people the right to choose to die at home, in order to allow them a dignified death.

In 2012, 41% of individuals living in England passed away at home or in a care home, but the figurer varies drastically depending on location – with only 35% of Londoners dying at home.

Lord Warner, when introducing the Bill in parliament, stated that giving people the choice to die at home would save more than £950 per person, citing figures compiled by the National End of Life Care Programme.

Lord Warner stated: “I am not trying to dragoon people into dying outside hospital to save money. But it would mean fewer people dying in hospital and would reduce pressure on A&E departments and acute hospital beds – a not inconsiderable benefit given current NHS clinical and financial pressures. There is every prospect that the cost-savings involved would pay for exempting terminally-ill patients from local authority social care charges – another way of improving people’s end of life experience.

“What’s not to like about my Bill? It is very straightforward in that it enables people to ask their GP to register in their medical records that they wish to die at home or in the place they regard as home. The Bill gives the Health Secretary the power to produce regulations to achieve this, and to require health and care staff to honour the wishes of patients in accordance with statutory guidance.

“All political parties are in favour of greater patient choice at the end of life. I hope that a cross-party consensus can be achieved to provide the parliamentary time for legislation to be scrutinised and passed to achieve the main objective of my Bill: that our last orders are followed.”

Having passed its first reading, the Right to Die at Home Bill will pass to the Second Reading stage in the House of Lords.

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