Exit was formed in 1980 with the specific purpose of researching and making available reliable information on how to end one’s life if faced with unbearable and unrelievable suffering.
A not-for-profit organisation, it is one of the leaders in the field of self-deliverance, publishing explicit information on end of life for persons over 21 years of age. (Proof of age is needed for joining.) ‘Hands-on’ workshops are conducted around the UK.
EXIT works strictly within the law of Scotland and the UK. It is not an emergency service. It does not provide one-to-one information on suicide (other than in workshops or literature), and takes all reasonable precautions to avoid material falling into the wrong hands.
Exit’s wider remit includes legislative reform, improved palliative care for all, provision of living will information, and an end to ‘postcode lottery’ on health service.
The EXIT Euthanasia Blog provides comment, analysis and news on selected news items of interest to Exit members. Comments are welcome, but they should relate to the post, not ask questions or seek guidance on suicide that is outside our remit of what we publish online.
On law reform
Exit’s attitude to law reform is one of carefully constructed permissive legislation – a judicial system that can permit exceptions to the rule against assisted suicide or euthanasia. This differs from the prescriptive model used in most proposed bills.
Exit’s position on allowable limits is similar to the Dutch model, basing consideration of end-of-life assistance upon i) unrelievable and unbearable suffering and ii) the patient’s competent and enduring wish, as the two primary requisites. This differs from organisations that campaign only for the terminally ill.
Exit is predominantly a low-profile organisation. It values consensus-building as a stable means of producing change. The political question for parliamentarians and others that dissent from legal reform in this area may be, how can the enduring views of the large proportion of the population, supported by the weight of rigorous academic evidence, be consolidated by a democratic government that is opposed to assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia on principle?
Exit uses the Carver System of Policy Governance as its working model for Board deliberations and the running of its organisation. It focusses on being pro-active rather than reactive, and outward-looking rather than inward-looking.
Relationship with other campaign groups
Imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery, but Exit is not connected with more recent groups of a similar name such as ‘Final Exit Network’ (American) or ‘Exit International’ (Australian). Exit has members worldwide but is neither a member of the World Federation of Right to Die Societies or other groups claiming to represent the ‘movement.’ We respect all these groups but have a fiercely independent and carefully scrutinised approach to our work.
Publications (for more information, please see here).
Exit publishes a magazine, Exit Newsletter, that includes lay and academic articles as well as straightforward information, humour and readers’ experiences. EXIT’s literature includes the groundbreaking booklet Departing Drugs, and the modern, most thorough and inclusive work on methods of self-deliverance, Five Last Acts. It also published How to Die With Dignity, the first book of its kind anywhere in the world. Departing Drugs researchers were also the main authors of the self-deliverance publication Beyond Final Exit and have contributed to major publishers in the fields of law, ethics and medicine. The most recent work is a large volume called The Exit Path.
Five Last Acts 2nd edition is available to members and non-members. (Please consult the right hand column for details.) Even with modern technology, not all ends are good ones. Although palliative care continues to make great strides, the final hours or days of some people are so difficult that they elect to take matters into their own hands and end things sooner rather than later. Once that decision is taken, lack of knowledge, planning or preparation can result in even greater suffering.
Five Last Acts collects the wisdom of multi-disciplinary research, workshops and developments worldwide in a major new volume. The body of the work is written in easy-to-understand language to offer a practical guide for every reader. Technical explanations are reserved more for the appendix. Five Last Acts provides the reliable options for the last act in your own play.
Feedback on the first edition:
“I have just finished reading your most excellent book, Five Last Acts; it is so well-researched, so informative, so clear, that it leads me to ask this question: which rational person would not want to obtain a copy of this book as an insurance policy against an uncertain future?”
The new edition of Five Last Acts is completely revised and expanded, giving even clearer insights and the most comprehensive guidance on self-deliverance worldwide.
Over 400 pages
Over 40 illustrations
Over 450 references
About the author
Chris Docker is an established writer in Law and Ethics in Medicine, producing key works for the professions, academics and the public on topics that include living wills, death & dying, and human transplants. For over 15 years he has been one of the world’s leading researchers into the reality of “self-deliverance” – the methods to accomplish one‟s own easy, peaceful and dignified death – when all other measures to relieve suffering and indignity have failed. He is Director of Exit and has led the interactive workshops run for many years across the UK. He holds a Masters Degree in Law & Ethics in Medicine. Five Last Acts is his third book on self-deliverance.
- Collected Living Wills, 1992.
- Departing Drugs (principal author) 1993.
- Beyond Final Exit (co-author) 1995.
- Advance Directive / Living Wills, in: Contemporary Issues in Law, Medicine and Ethics (ed. S.A.M. McLean) 1996.
- The Way Forward, in: Death, Dying and the Law (ed. S.A.M.McLean) 1996.
- Living Wills, in: Finance and Law for the Older Client (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, Gen.Ed. C.Whitehouse) 2000 (up-dated 2003).
- Ethical and Legal Dilemmas with Organ Transplants, in: Health Services Law and Practice (eds: M.Bloom, A.Harris,S.Waddington) 2001.
- End of Life, in: Health Services Law and Practice (eds: M.Bloom, A.Harris,S.Waddington) 2001.
- Five Last Acts 2007 (2nd edition, 2010).
- The Exit Path 2013.
EXIT’s website (Euthanasia Fast Access) provides a resource for students and members. It does NOT contain specific information on suicide.
Exit can be contacted via its main website or you can send a message using the form below. (n.b. Please read the Aims above before getting in touch.)