A proposal to allow assisted dying in Guernsey have been defeated, leaving campaigners pressing for a change in the law disappointed.

Its approval would have opened the way for the island to become the first place in the UK where patients could end their lives with the help of a doctor.

The move for a working group to draw up recommendations for assisted dying legislation on Guernsey was rejected by politicians after three days of debate.

Deputies had earlier in the week defeated a so-called wrecking amendment that would have denied the people of Guernsey a full debate on the subject.

After turning down the assisted dying proposal, the 40-strong parliament agreed that the Committee for Health and Social Care should “consider the measures necessary to improve quality of life and health outcomes for all islanders towards the end of their lives”.

Sarah Wootton, chief executive of Dignity in Dying, said: “Many in Guernsey and beyond will be disappointed with today’s result, particularly those who have seen the suffering caused by the current law.

“However, this debate has proved beyond doubt that there is immense public support for change and that more politicians are beginning to listen to the views of their constituents.”

She said that the debate had demonstrated that the medical community will provide guidance for health care professionals in the event of a law change.

Ms Wootton added: “Today, many Deputies voted against the prospect of even beginning a consultation on this issue, despite claiming that they were not in principle opposed to assisted dying.

More from UK

“Meanwhile, many dying people throughout the UK and Channel Islands are enduring unbearable suffering in their final months or are being forced to take matters into their own hands at home or in Switzerland.”

Guernsey as a British Crown dependency makes its own laws.