Opinion poll reveals 81% UK public support change in 'right-to-die' law

An online opinion poll released today by the UK's leading independent health information website, Patient, suggests that 81% of the UK public are in favour of a change in the current UK right-to-die law.

In comparison just 19% of those surveyed* would opt for the current law to remain in place.

This week sees two severely disabled men go to the Court of Appeal to attempt to change laws governing the right-to-die. One of the men challenging this law, Paul Lamb, 58, from Leeds, was paralysed from the neck down in a car accident and wants a doctor to help him to die. Mr Lamb is taking up the case begun by the late Tony Nicklinson last year and seeking a ruling that would give doctors a defence to a murder charge.

Commenting on the right-to-die issue from a medical professional's point of view, Patient's Clinical Content Editor, Dr Hayley Willacy writes in her latest patient.info blog article that "perhaps medics struggle with the concept of ending a life being the best possible option. Ever hopeful of a better way, we cling to the ancient primum non nocere, a phrase mirrored in Hippocrates work. However this was over 2,000 years ago, when most folk were lucky to make 50 years old. The concept of degenerative disease, that robs people of their dignity and quality of life for years, is an alien one."

*Source: Opinion poll of 1,862 people, conducted on Patient in May 2013.