Combative, provocative and engaging debate chaired by Michael Buerk. With Claire Fox, Anne McElvoy, Giles Fraser and Mona Siddiqui.
Every year thousands of terminally ill patients are being helped to die by their doctors, according to Baroness Molly Meacher, the new chairwoman of Dignity in Dying. She claims doctors are prepared to risk their own freedom rather than see their patients continue to suffer unbearably. Her assertion comes as the British Medical Association next week prepares to discuss the results of its 18 month long survey in to the public and medical professionals' attitudes on end-of-life care and physician-assisted dying. For 26 years now this programme has charted the moral and ethical life of the nation and this subject, above all others, has been the one we've returned to most often. And little wonder as it's an issue that combines moral dilemma, religious principle, human compassion and fear in equal measure. As a prelude to the BMA debate, this week we're going to invite back witnesses who've appeared on our programme over the years to explore how the debate has developed over time. In 1991 we started out discussing the morality of suicide manuals. Advances in medical technology since then have transformed our expectations of what we demand from life. We've seen a growth of the "me generation" that prizes and demands individual choice and rights above collective responsibility. While as a society we have increasingly recognised the rights of disabled people, there is also growing support for legalising assisted suicide, which may give comfort to some, but could put many more vulnerable people at risk. And there has also been our changing relationship with religion. The moral maze that is the debate on assisted dying, live at 8pm Wednesday. Chaired by Michael Buerk with Mona Siddiqui, Anne McElvoy, Giles Fraser and Claire Fox. Witnesses are Dr Michael Irwin, Lesley Close, Dr Kevin Yuill and Prof David Cook.