Lib Dem report boosts anti-euthanasia campaign
Campaigners against euthanasia have a received a boost from a Liberal Democrat inquiry that says hospices that care for the sick and dying receive less than a third of their funding from the government.
Lord Joffeís Patient Assisted Suicide Bill which will be debated in the House of Lords next month would make euthanasia legal in the UK.
But opponents have said what is really needed is more resources for geriatric care and hospices.
The Lib Dem study, conducted by party spokesman Paul Burstow and which appears to support the anti-euthanasia case, found that hospices are increasingly being forced to rely on charitable donations and lottery funding to provide care for the terminally ill.
The funding crisis has resulted in a reduction in beds in one in four hospices - with several being forced to close altogether.
Burstow also revealed that there are 600 fewer district nurses than when Labour came to power in 1997.
"The government said clearly in its NHS Cancer Plan that all NHS patients should have access to specialist palliative care advice and services. But it is not putting its money where its mouth is," he said.
"The national lottery - which is meant to fund projects additional to government programmes - is being used to shore up this core service. And the voluntary sector is having to stump up the rest."