Assisted dying is when a terminally ill, mentally competent adult, making the choice of their own free will and after meeting strict legal safeguards, takes prescribed medication which will end their life. Assisted dying is currently illegal in the UK.
- Assisted dying only applies to terminally ill, mentally competent adults and requires the dying patient, after meeting strict legal safeguards, to self administer life-ending medication.
- Assisted suicide allows assistance to die to chronically ill and disabled people who are not dying. Assisted suicide is permitted in Switzerland.
- Voluntary euthanasia allows a doctor to administer life ending medication directly to the patient. Voluntary euthanasia is permitted in the Netherlands and Belgium.
- Euthanasia is a term often used to describe life ending medication being administered by a third party, perhaps without the consent of the patient.
None of these is currently legal in the UK. There is an ongoing campaign to get assisted dying and assisted suicide legalised in certain circumstances.
More information is available at Dignity in Dying.