Section 8

Comparative figures

“The Swiss are 1,000 times more likely to have planned for their own death”

When were they founded?199820112018
How many members have they got?11,0001,560400*
How many of their members are from the UK?1,529
approx. 170
How many assisted deaths to they carry out each year?between 200 and 25080**not disclosed but their capacity is 200
And how many of the assisted deaths are for British people?approx. 25 - 35 people per year
approx. 20 people per year
not disclosed

*Pegasos refers to its subscribers as “supporters”
​** including 4 couples (i.e. 8 people) who came together.

Some of these figures do seem surprisingly low.   For all the bombastic talk of “I tell you, if it happens to me, I’m off to Switzerland”, very few British people have actually made their future intentions clear by joining one of these end-of-life centres.   Just 1,555 according to these figures.   That is .002%. of our population.

Dignitas, Lifecircle and Pegasos are very professional organisations but they cater for a minority group of people in that many of their cases come from outside Switzerland.   Over 170,000 Swiss residents, almost 2% of the entire Swiss population, have joined the parallel centres that only accept Swiss residents and citizens.   They are 1,000 times more likely to have made such plans than the average British citizen !

Of course, the biggest single reason for this discrepancy will be the relative cost and difficulty for British people of having to travel abroad to get it done.   These figures may not fully take into account the number of “last minute” arrangements whereby British people become a member and then, in the same week, make an application for a Voluntary Assisted Death.   Nonetheless, the difference between the two countries does seem startling

Read Next Section >
Section 9

Most people join for the re-assurance