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West Suffolk: St Nicholas Hospice criticises controversial Coronation Street plot as cancer sufferer Hayley Cropper ends her own life

PUBLISHED: 19:00 20 January 2014

Hayley Cropper with husband Roy Cropper

Hayley Cropper with husband Roy Cropper

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Senior staff at a Suffolk hospice have spoken out about a storyline which saw one of Britain’s best-loved soap characters commit suicide in a controversial ‘right-to-die’ plot.

Millions of viewers are expected to tune in to Coronation Street tonight to see Hayley Cropper end her own life to avoid going through the latter stages of terminal pancreatic cancer.

Actor Julie Hesmondhalgh, who plays Hayley, has praised the soap for starting a conversation about assisted suicide.

But the chief executive at Bury St Edmunds-based St Nicholas Hospice Care – which looks after people with life-shortening illnesses in the west Suffolk area – believes the story could have been handled better.

Barbara Gale agreed that the plot had raised awareness of the difficult circumstances and decisions often faced by terminally ill people.

But she added: “We were saddened by the fact that the character in the storyline chose to end her own life when we know that with the right care and support, this can be an important and fulfilling time for patients and their families.

“Like many other hospices, we aim to provide practical and emotional support for patients and families and we strive for dignity in dying.”

A bid to legislate on the controversial issue has recently been launched. The Assisted Dying Bill would enable terminally ill patients to request assisted dying subject to a range of safeguards.

For more information, advice or support, contact St Nicholas Hospice Care on 01284 766133.

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