Pratchett wants right-to-die tribunals

By staff

Tribunals should be set up to help give terminally ill people permission to die, author Terry Pratchett will demand later.

The Discworld author and Alzheimer’s sufferer will use the Richard Dimbleby Lecture at the Royal College of Physicians tonight to make the case for legal permission to die.

It comes as a poll for BBC1’s Panorama programme showed nearly three-quarters felt friends or relatives should be allowed to help a terminally ill person commit suicide without fear of punishment.

“If I knew that I could die at any time I wanted, then suddenly every day would be as precious as a million pounds,” Sir Terry said.

“If I knew that I could die, I would live. My life, my death, my choice.”

Right-to-die issues are in the headlines at present after Kay Gilderdale was acquitted last week of attempted murder after helping her daughter kill herself.

Despite public support for assisted suicide for the terminally ill, campaigners remain pessimistic about reform of the law.

“Unfortunately public support doesn’t translate into positive change,” Dignity in Dying’s chief executive Sarah Wootton said.

“Politicians are failing to represent their constituents, and church leaders continue to speak out against assisted dying, despite the majority of their congregations wanting to see a change in the law.”