VES hires PR chief ahead of euthanasia law debate

The Voluntary Euthanasia Society (VES) has hired Mark Slattery as its head of communications as it prepares to deal with the outcome of a major parliamentary review of current euthanasia law.

The Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill, put forward by Lord Joffe, will be considered by a Commons Select Committee during the summer. If made law, it would allow terminally ill adults to ask for medical help to end their lives.

Slattery, who has been head of comms at the National Lottery Commission for four-and-a-half years and was previously parliamentary and media briefing officer at water regulator Ofwat, will take up the VES post in mid-May.

Reporting to VES chief executive Deborah Annetts, he will have overall responsibility for communicating with the media and VES’s external stakeholders.

Slattery will work with VES heads of public affairs, campaigns and research in a seven-strong team.

‘I am anticipating lots of demand for comment from regional and national media during the select committee review,’ said Slattery.

‘I am thrilled to be taking on an issue with such strong social relevance and a powerful PR profile,’ he added.

He replaces Tamora Langley, who left after three years in the role to take up an appointment as senior consultant in Weber Shandwick’s healthcare public affairs team at the beginning of February.

VES lobbies government and MPs to change the law to improve patient choice at the end of life, in a bid to help take away the fear of the process of dying and to stop needless suffering. The organisation also defends patients’ legal rights when refusing life-prolonging medical treatment.

The Liberal Democrats recently voted to support a pro-euthanasia motion following lobbying by VES.

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