About our work
About our work
Friends at the End (SCIO) works to advance human rights (especially of those in need by
reason of age, ill health, and other disadvantage) by increasing public knowledge concerning
end-of-life choices and dignified death and supporting those suffering distress at and
towards the end of their lives. This includes the advancement of education relevant to the
processes of death and terminal illness and research into the causes, cures and prevention of distress in the dying and those caring for them.
We formed as a voluntary society in 2000 and received charitable status in 2018. We have supported hundreds of people through the end of their lives and been involved with the preparation of two parliamentary Bills in Scotland.
Our long term aim is to see the passing of assisted dying legislation, until this happens we will work to ensure that every UK citizen has a Good Death within the current legal framework.
What do we support?
We believe that medically assisted dying should be available to all mentally competent adults with either a terminal illness or an incurable condition, causing hopeless and unbearable suffering with no reasonable alternative to relieve it, provided this is their own persistent request.
We respect the views of those who do not support this position but whose opposition is equally informed by compassion and concern for people who are suffering. Our aim is to work with others to find commonalities and to approach the subject with dignity and respect.
What do we do?
- Support our members and the wider public to have a good end of life within the current legal framework
- Provide comfort and support to those distressed at the end of their life and assist with the preparation of end of life documentation including Advance Directives, Advance Statements, Powers of Attorney etc.
- Host various events throughout the year across the UK
- Sponsor the Cross-Party Group on End of Life Choices in the Scottish Parliament
- Provide reliable and recent information and advice on the campaign for assisted dying. We use our wealth of knowledge and international contacts to take this work forward
- Support legal cases taken forward by individuals including Paul Lamb, Gordon Ross and Omid T
- Provide legal advice on legislation. We have helped MSP’s in the Scottish Parliament bring forward two Bills. Our CEO was advisor to the member in charge on the Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill and our Convener was office manager to Margo MacDonald MSP for almost 20 years.
- Invest in academic research to increase knowledge and awareness.
- Facilitate local support and campaigning groups. Want to get involved? Become a member
- Work with partnership organisations in the third, private and public sectors.
What we aren’t campaigning for
Friends at the End does not advocate for euthanasia. Assisted Dying is where a terminally ill person self ingests life ending medication in the setting of a terminal illness. Whereas euthanasia is where a third party, usually a doctor, responds to a voluntary request from a patient to deliberately end their life, usually by administering the medication to them.
Some jurisdictions around the world have introduced assisted dying and euthanasia laws. Parliaments in these countries passed such laws because they believed them to be appropriate for their jurisdiction. We believe an assisted dying law is the right law for the UK.
We do not propose assisted dying to be an alternative to good quality end of life care. We support better and accessible end of life care, including more investment and research into this, but believe this goes hand in hand with assisted dying.
“The act of dying is one of the acts of life.”
– Marcus Aureliius
You can find out a bit more about assisted dying by reading our frequently asked questions here.