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  1. ITV Report

The cancer patient who chose a hospice in the UK after 'briefly considering' travelling to Switzerland to end her life

Janice Beaman talks to ITV News' Paul Davies Credit: ITV News

The debate over whether to make assisted dying legal in this country is as passionate as it is divisive.

MPs are due to discuss possible changes to the law on assisted dying next month.

Today Bob Cole, diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer, decided to end his life at Dignitas near Zurich in Switzerland - 18 months after he accompanied his wife Ann to the clinic.

He was sure he had no regrets about his decision.

Bob Cole travelled to Dignitas in Switzerland to end his life Credit: ITV News

He is not alone. Many chose to travel to Switzerland for the same journey.

However others, like Janice Beaman, chose a different path.

Janice Beaman has been told she has less than 12 months to live due to pancreatic cancer.

She told ITV News she briefly considered Dignitas but instead has turned to The Hospice of St Francis, in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, near her home for help and support until the end.

Asked if she considered Dignitas, Ms Beaman said: "Very briefly but as far as I'm concerned I would like to live and I would like to die in my home country surrounded by my friends and with the support of the hospice."

She visits the hospice regularly for support and help with pain and will only become an in-patient in the later stages.

Like Bob her decision is based on personal experience - her husband died form cancer in a hospice four years ago.

"I get a feeling of peace, I get a feeling that I've got a team of people on my side who are actually rooting for me, looking after me," she said.

Staff at the hospice say they have known patients who have wanted an early death but have changed their minds once they were receiving help.

Jo Fernandes, Hospice of St Francis nurse Credit: ITV News

Jo Fernandes, a nurse at the hospice, said: "I think it makes me very, very sad when people make what I can only imagine is an immensely difficult decision. It does make me very sad because I do believe that there are some really legitimate alternatives."

Under the Suicide Act 1961 it is illegal to assist or encourage another person to end their own life - it carries a maximum 14 years in prison.

MPs will debate a change in the law in England and Wales next month.

If passed, terminally ill patients with six months to live could take their own lives with prescription drugs under medical supervision but it needs the agreement of two doctors and a judge.

Watch the full report by ITV News correspondent Paul Davies.

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