Regular blog followers will know I am a strong supporter of Lord Falconers’s Bill to enable those who are terminally ill and within 6 months of death, to request assistance to die at a time of their choosing. It makes sense to me as a clinician who has worked all my life with older people that in the end we must respect individuals’ wishes and act compassionately when they feel that they have suffered enough. I have been in the House of Lords long enough to have been through several debates on the issue and I can say for sure we are gradually winning the battle to make this legislation possible. There are now more than 130 speakers lsited for the debate on Friday…we shall get 3 or 4 minutes each and it looks at the moment as if no-one will try to prevent the bill getting a second reading, that is proceeding to the committee stages. Bills like this, which enhance people’s ability to act autonomously eventually get through after many years of campaigning, many years of pressure from the public, many years of facing down the established churches and institutions with vested interests. The factions opposed to the bill would like to kick it into touch by appointing a Royal Commission but this only delays the inevitable. The old arguments, about inadequate safeguards and risk of pressurising people have ben shown to be false by research in other countries which have adopted similar legislation. We are not there yet but there is a buzz around the House which suggests we are nearer than ever before. And with former Archbisops George Carey and Desmond Tutu breaking ranks with their own churches, the tide is turning at last.