People on Isle of Man asked their thoughts on assisted dying

Public consultation into assisted dying underway on Isle of Man Credit: ITV news

People on the Isle of Man are being asked what they think about assisted dying, after Members of the House of Keys (MHKs) earlier this year voted overwhelmingly to allow a private member's bill to be introduced that would legalise the choice for terminally ill people.

A public consultation started on 1 December and will run for eight weeks to find out Manx people's views on the issue.

A draft bill will then be prepared for review by a committee of the Tynwald, the Isle of Man's parliament, with experts asked to give evidence to inform discussions.

What is assisted dying?

Assisted dying is where a person suffering from a terminal illness or incurable condition is helped to take their own life, after requesting drugs provided by a doctor for the purpose.

Assisted dying is lawful in Switzerland and the Netherlands.

An opinion poll last year found 87% of islanders support a change in the law on assisted dying to allow this option for terminally ill, mentally competent adults.

The assisted dying bill is proposed by Dr Alex Allinson, MHK for Ramsey and a GP, and would enable terminally ill adults the choice of an assisted death.

Dr Allinson was also instrumental in bringing forward the island's abortion legislation, which is the most progressive in the British Isles.

The public consultation is online and will run for eight weeks Credit: Isle of Man Government

Sarah Wootton, Chief Executive of Dignity in Dying said: "This consultation is a key milestone on the road to assisted dying reform on the Isle of Man and across the British Isles.

"We applaud the House of Keys for giving the Manx public the opportunity to be heard on this historic issue - the vast majority of whom want to see a safe, compassionate assisted dying law for the island.

"MHKs voted by a landslide in May to allow Dr Allinson to introduce an Assisted Dying Bill.

"We hope they will now ensure that the voices of dying people and bereaved relatives are front and centre in this debate."

On 24 May 2022 Members of the House of Keys voted overwhelmingly (22-2) to allow a private member's bill on assisted dying to be introduced.