Figures released today have shown that dozens of Brits are travelling to Switzerland to end their lives through assisted suicide,The Express reported. British people account for around a fifth of all non-Swiss nationals using euthanasia services in the country, second only to Germans as the largest national group seeking to end their lives in this way.
Research undertaken by Zurich University revealed 126 Britons ended their lives in Swiss clinics between 2008 and 2012; an average of one every fortnight. There were a total of 611 non-Swiss cases from 31 different countries in the time period. Numbers have fluctuated over the years: in 2009 there were 86 cases, whereas there were 172 cases in 2012.
There are six different organisations in Zurich offering legal assisted suicide, the best known of which is Dignitas. . Dignitas charges between £6000 and £7000 for their service, and all but four Britons chose to use them.
Across the nationalities, the average age of the patients was 69, athough the range spanned from 23 to 97. The majority were woman, who made up 58.5 percent of cases. The most common reasons for seeking out assisted suicide were neurological conditions including Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease and paralysis, which together made up 47 percent of cases. Terminal cancer accounted for 37 percent.
Around 600 people a year end their lives through assisted suicide in Switzerland, including Swiss nationals.
Lord Falconer recently presented the Assisted Dying Bill to the British Parliament, which, if passed, would allow for legal assisted suicide for terminally ill patients who are deemed to have six months or fewer left to live. When presenting the Bill, Lord Falconer said “The current situation leaves the rich able to go to Switzerland, the majority reliant on amateur assistance, the compassionate treated like criminals. … It is time for a change in the law but only a very limited and safeguarded change.”