Supporting greater patient choice at the end of life


“There is nothing humane about forcing people with terminal illness to stay alive for as long as they can — no matter how good the care they receive from a profession forced into cruelty by an inadequate law.”

Prof Klim McPherson, husband of the late Dr Ann McPherson CBE (pictured). Ann founded HPAD and was our first Chair. She died on 28 May 2011 from pancreatic cancer.

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Our Vision

HPAD is a group of healthcare professionals who do not believe that dying patients should have to suffer against their wishes or travel abroad to die. Alongside access to good quality end-of-life care, we support a change in the law to allow terminally ill, mentally competent adults the choice of an assisted death, within upfront safeguards. Such a law would, we believe, not only respect patient choice but better protect vulnerable patients, allowing them to make informed decisions in consultation with healthcare professionals. If you agree, please join us now. As a practising or retired healthcare professional, you can become a member free of charge .

Our Mission

We support Dignity in Dying's campaign for greater patient choice at the end of life and their policy on assisted dying, and believe that the medical professional bodies, such as the British Medical Association, should not oppose change which puts the wishes of individual patients first .

Specifically we want:

To change the medical culture:

We recognise that dying is inevitable and is part of life. For those with terminal conditions, the dying process is not a failure of the healthcare team or the patient – but it does become a failure if the patient suffers an undignified death. Moreover since dying in these circumstances is not a failure, help in dying should be thought of as assisting dying and not assisting suicide.

To change the law:

Healthcare professionals can indirectly hasten death through the withdrawal/withholding of treatment or through the principle of ‘double effect’, but direct and deliberate assistance to die, at the patient’s request, is illegal. The law must change to provide safeguarded greater choice at the end of life, ensuring that within reason the wishes of terminally ill, mentally competent adults are respected.

To change clinical practice:

Assisted dying should be just one of many options at the end of life. It should be available to complement other end-of-life care, as it does in other countries that have legalised and regulated assisted dying. Those wanting an assisted death should be supported by their healthcare professionals to die when and where they choose, within safeguards.