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End of life care: when pain relief isn’t enough

Even with the best care, patients are dying in agony – assisted dying should be an option
A patient with a terminal illness, who is wearing a headscarf, being comforted by another person

Even with the best care, patients are dying in agony – assisted dying should be an option

New research from Dignity in Dying has uncovered a shocking reality: that even if there was universal access to the best possible hospice care, every day in the UK 17 people would die with absolutely no relief of their pain.

This is a conservative estimate. It’s likely an even greater number would die with partial pain relief, with other horrific symptoms such as terminal haemorrhages or fungating wounds, or with the psychological torment that comes from not knowing how you will die or how long it will take.

Improved funding for and access to palliative care, though certainly needed and welcome, would not help in cases like these. This is the inescapable truth that can no longer be glossed over: that some people’s suffering

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