Choice at the end of life: Current practice and overseas developments


Friday 9 February 2018

Half Day

Venue Royal Society of Medicine
1 Wimpole Street
Organised by

RSM Professionals


5 CPD Points

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about this event

The aim of this event is to explore how the concept of choice sits within current end-of-life practice and to question whether or not assisted dying is complementary or contradictory to the notion of person-centred care. The event hopes to bring together key figures from many sides of these important issues.

Recently there has been a cultural shift away from paternalism and towards the empowerment of patients to make decisions about their own care. Nowhere is this change more pertinent than at end of life.

Palliative medicine has always led the way in treating people as individuals and we can now see this being embedded in other specialisms. Despite the uptake of planning tools such as Advance Decisions and Lasting Powers of Attorney being low, campaigns to encourage the public to think about and plan for their own death are growing.

Click here to read more about the event.

Join the discussion online with #RSMDyingForChoice
Find us at @RoySocMed, click here to tweet.

The Royal Society of Medicine has a long history of putting together conferences that examine and challenge existing discussions in modern healthcare. In putting together this programme, we have spoken extensively with individuals and organisations with a range of views. We have aimed to create an agenda with a range of perspectives on the decisions that both doctors and patients should bear in mind at the end of life.

Speakers at the conference will provide a breadth of views, insights and expertise in the wide area of choice at the end of life, not just on assisted dying. Two of the speakers on the agenda are prominent campaigners in opposition to assisted dying and two are prominent campaigners in support. Many more are not speaking from a campaigning background on either side, but instead offer their own personal and professional insights to stimulate an interesting discussion.

*Programme subject to change.


12.45 pm

Registration, tea and coffee

1.25 pm

Welcome and introduction

Professor Roger Kirby, Chairman of Academic Board, Royal Society of Medicine

Setting the scene: Personal perspectives on facing death

Professor Sir Simon Wessely, President, Royal Society of Medicine

1.30 pm

The right to die, legal frameworks and the basic humanity of medicine - a personal view

Professor Paul Cosford, Patient and Medical Director, Public Health England

1.40 pm

We had to go to Switzerland

Mr Tony Wicks, Retired Engineer

1.50 pm

When Dignitas isn’t an option

Mrs Julie Smith, Enterprise and Employability Manager, Secondary Academy

2.00 pm

What can we learn from Coroners’ investigations into suicides amongst dying people?

Ms Karen Harrold, Assistant Coroner, Hampshire and West Sussex

2.10 pm

Panel discussion

2.25 pm

Assisting terminally ill patients to hasten death: What medical aid-in-dying looks like in practice

Dr Catherine Sonquist Forest, MD MPH, Family Medicine Physician, Los Altos, California and Clinical Associate Professor, Medicine - Primary Care And Population Health, Stanford School of Medicine

2.55 pm

Assisted suicide: Who is it for?

Ms Juliet Marlow, Representative, Not Dead Yet UK

3.15 pm

Panel discussion

3.40 pm

Tea and coffee break

Serving patients better

Professor Gillian Leng, Deputy Chief Executive, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence

4.10 pm

Good management of symptoms and suffering is distinct from assisting suicide

Professor Rob George, Medical Director, St Christopher's Hospice and Professor Palliative Care, Cicely Saunders Institute, King's College London

4.20 pm

Rejection, integration or collaboration? Palliative care and assisted dying

Professor David Clark, Wellcome Trust Investigator, School of Interdisciplinary Studies, Dumfries Campus, University of Glasgow

4.30 pm

Patients' choices, best interests, and the courts

Ms Victoria Butler-Cole, Barrister, 39 Essex Chambers and Chair of Trustees, Compassion in Dying

4.40 pm

When patients lack capacity to make choices for themselves: Ensuring person-centred decisions

Professor Jenny Kitzinger, Co-Director, Coma and Disorders of Consciousness Research Centre, JOMEC, Cardiff University

4.50 pm

Panel discussion

The future legal framework: How to make it work in practice

Dr Clare Gerada, Medical Director, Practitioner Health and GP Health Service, PHP and Former Chair, Royal College of General Practitioners

5.10 pm

Offering both hospice care and assisted dying from among the options on the end of life continuum of care

Mr Mark Jarman-Howe, Hospice Chief Executive and Director, Dignity in Dying

5.20 pm

Perspectives from the GMC

Professor Sir Terence Stephenson, Chair, General Medical Council

5.30 pm

The Crown Prosecution Service policy in relation to cases of encouraging or assisting suicide

Mr Simon Ringrose, Unit Head, Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, Crown Prosecution Service

5.45 pm

End of life or ending life

Baroness Ilora Finlay of Llandaff, Professor of Palliative Medicine, Cardiff University

6.00 pm

Panel discussion

6.25 pm

Conclusions - where next?

Professor Gillian Leng, Deputy Chief Executive, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence

6.30 pm

Drinks reception and close of meeting

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organiser's details

For information on this event, contact Tel: 020 7290 3941 Email: arrow