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Last on

Mon 20 Sep 2010 20:00 BBC Radio 4 FM only

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 20 September 2010

The debate over whether we should legalise assisted suicide is not going away.

But whilst we flounder over the grey areas of the British legal system, a radical Australian doctor has found a loophole.

Because physically helping someone to die is illegal, he is providing information to paying participants on how to die peacefully and painlessly kill themselves.

Dr Nitschke runs Exit International; an organisation that distributes information on end-of-life methods. Banned from holding seminars in his own country, he is taking his workshops on the road.

Reporter Jenny Cuffe visits an Exit International workshop. She talks to the people present about their reasons for attending and investigates whether Exit is acting in the interests of humanity, or irresponsibly by offering dangerous information without safeguards.

Has Exit recognised a real concern amongst Britain's ageing population who worry about ending their days dependent on others?

Jenny will find out whether those shouting the loudest really represent the feelings of the wider population.

Talking with geriatricians, psychologists, campaigners and elderly people she explores society's last great taboo: death. She asks why so many people approaching old age are scared of dying.

Are they being failed by our care system? Are advances in medicine extending quantity but not quality of life? Or is even discussing assisted suicide for the elderly symptomatic of an ageist society that undervalues the old?

Should the 'I want' generation be able to make the choice of when we die and have the right to plan our own Exit Strategy?

Producer: Gemma Newby
An All Out Production for BBC Radio 4.


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