From Dr Phillip Rice
Sir, — My local hospice, St Joseph’s, in east London, has managed more than 100 years of independent existence because local people and volunteers have raised large amounts of money for hospice care for their relatives and friends. Some of it was raised in memoriam.
By coincidence, last Saturday was another fund-raising day for St Joseph’s Hospice, with a community jumble sale, as well as decision day for my local group, working on how to raise support for opposition to the Assisted Dying Bill (the Marris Bill). Also, my assigned task for the day was to research how General Synod had voted when it last considered a motion relating to assisted dying from Lord Falconer or associates.
Conscious of my tasks, I attempted to be in all three places: fund-raising, politics, and research. But my biggest surprise of the day was to rediscover that the General Synod, with a wide range of eminent speakers, including a former Archbishop, had as recently as February 2012 voted on a private member’s motion opposing the “Independent Commission on Assisted Dying”, unanimously, 284 to nil, with four abstentions.
The key part of the motion voted on was that this Synod affirm the intrinsic value of every human life, and express its support for the current law on assisted suicide as a means of contributing to a just and compassionate society in which vulnerable people are protected.
A prominent voice was that of Archbishop Rowan Williams: “Anything which prejudices or jeopardises the level of palliative care is to be resisted with all our power.”
I believe all of these events recognise the hospice as a good place to be in.
23 Christchurch Square
London E9 7HU