A DOCTOR and campaigner for assisted suicide has set up a consultancy offering advice to people considering going abroad to end their life.

Retired GP Michael Irwin, from Hove, created The Last Choice because he said it was “unlikely” there would be any change in the law in the near future.

Dr Irwin, 86, was given the nickname Dr Death because of his continued campaign to allow assisted suicide in the UK.

He has also offered advice and accompanied people to locations such as Dignitas in Switzerland to end their life.

The issue has been debated in the Commons but any bid to change the law has been defeated.

Opponents to change include religious organisations and some disability groups and medics.

Dr Irwin said: “It is tragic the UK is unable to follow the example of other civilized western European countries in providing the option of doctor-assisted dying for its mentally competent adults who are suffering unbearably from medical conditions that severely impair their personal quality of life.

“While there is generally a very good palliative care system in the UK, there are many individuals who would prefer to have greater control over how their lives should end when they are suffering unbearably.”

The main function of the Last Choice is to give reliable advice on what is involved in going to Dignitas in Zurich, Lifecircle near Basle or to EX International near Berne.

At least 400 Britons have travelled to Switzerland for a doctor-assisted suicide.

Eight people, including Dr Irwin in 2009, have been arrested after accompanying people to Switzerland but nobody has ever been charged.

Although the point has so far not yet been tested in the UK courts, the Last Choice believes there are no longer any legal grounds to prosecute someone, acting compassionately, who has accompanied a relative or a friend to Switzerland for a doctor-assisted suicide.

Dr Irwin said: “One day the law will change in the UK to provide the option of a doctor-assisted death for all competent, severely suffering adults.

“However until this happens the Last Choice will be involved in assisting to provide an efficient and dignified alternative.

It is important to realize that competent, suffering British adults already have access to a doctor- assisted suicide.

“It just happens to be offshore at present.”