Categories
Assisted dying assisted suicide

COVID-19 – A call to action

To all NDY UK members and supporters

We are picking up some worrying COVID -19 practices that discriminate unfairly against disabled people. As a result, we are asking you to consider the four bullet points below and take action:

Everybody, we need to act fast –  We need a firm pledge that we will be treated fairly and equally at this difficult time.

  • Write to your GP and ask them not to join in with the Do Not Resuscitate / Advance Directives drive, which has seen some GPs call patients asking them to forfeit hospital treatment if they get pneumonia. Explain that contacting patients individually in this way, at this time, places unfair and discriminatory pressure on people who may be in a vulnerable situation because all do not have appropriate services and support.
  • Consider writing to either your GP, local CCG, Simon Stevens CEO of NHS England or your local MP, asking them to advocate fairly for all patients to have their treatment assessed alongside everyone else, based on current clinical assessment and judgement which has been subject to thorough scrutiny by the Health Ethics Commission, EHRC and patient’s/disabled people consultative groups.
  • Please remind anyone you write to from above that the Equality Act and the Human Rights Act must be adhered to when assessing disabled people for healthcare during the COVID19 period.
  • Please write to the Chair or CEO of NICE to Oppose the use of their current Frailty Score in relation to Coronavirus. The NICE Frailty Score has not been a collaborative exercise involving disabled people’s organisations or patients groups, it is highly divisive. This is not the time to bring in guidance on who is worthy to treat and who isn’t. Hospital doctors already use their clinical judgement in terms of whether a treatment will have a benefit to the patient or not. We do not approve of any additional, arbitrary guidance based on age or disability.
  • In all exchanges regarding COVID 19, please do not ask for special exemptions for different disabilities in terms of medical treatment at this time, as all lives are of equal value.
Categories
Assisted dying assisted suicide

BMA survey published in June 2020

Several of our supporters have mentioned their concerns about the recent RCGP poll which although it maintained its opposition to a change in the law on assisted dying the overall support was reduced.

A majority of GP’s voted to oppose any change in the law as against those supporting a change (47% to 41%) but the 47% had apparently dropped from 77% in 2013. Campaigners for assisted dying are capitalising on the fact that if you take account of the votes for a position of neutrality (11%), the proportion supporting the status quo is actually in the minority.

The RCGP has stated they will not have another poll for five years unless there are ‘significant developments’ on the issue.

The British Medical Association (BMA) are planning their own poll which they will report on at their conference in June later this year.

It is clear that we must take every opportunity to ensure that doctors understand our vigorous opposition to a change in the law on assisted dying.

  • Is your GP aware that you have serious concerns about a change in the law on assisted dying?
  • Have you discussed how vulnerable you feel?
  • Have you discussed the damage that could be caused to the patient/doctor relationship if assisted dying was legalised?

For more information about the recent RCGP poll follow these links: –

https://www.rcgp.org.uk/about-us/news/2020/february/royal-college-of-gps-remains-opposed-to-change-in-the-law-on-assisted-dying.aspx

https://www.bmj.com/content/368/bmj.m708.

 

 

Categories
Assisted dying assisted suicide

Royal College of GP’s poll supports opposition to assisted dying.

This is the official statement issued by the Royal College of General Practitioners today regarding the poll recently undertaken to test the views of GP’s.

“The Royal College of General Practitioners will continue to oppose a change in the law on assisted dying, following consultation of its members. The decision was ratified by the RCGP’s governing Council today.

The member survey was conducted independently by Savanta ComRes. 6,674 members from across the UK responded to the online survey – 13.47% of those consulted*.

Members were asked whether RCGP should change its current position of opposing a change in the law on assisted dying:

  • 47% of respondents said that the RCGP should oppose a change in the law on assisted dying
  • 40% of respondents said the RCGP should support a change in the law on assisted dying, providing there is a regulatory framework and appropriate safeguarding processes in place
  • 11% of respondents said that the RCGP should have a neutral position and
  • 2% of respondents abstained from answering.

RCGP Council agreed today that the survey results did not support a change in the College’s existing position on assisted dying.

Under current laws in each of the four UK nations, assisted dying is illegal. The RCGP last reviewed its position on assisted dying in 2014 following a member consultation in 2013.

RCGP Council has decided that it will not review the College`s position on this issue for at least five years unless there are significant developments on the issue.

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “As the UK’s largest medical Royal College it is important that we engage in debate and listen to what our members have to say on wide-ranging issues affecting GPs and their patients.

“Assisted dying is a controversial topic and this was reflected in the responses to our consultation. However, the highest proportion of respondents said that the College should continue to oppose a change in the law on assisted dying.

“This was the largest consultation on an issue of public policy that the College has conducted both in terms of response rate and volume of respondents. The survey results have been helpful in guiding the College Council as to what our position should be.

“The role of the College now is to ensure that patients receive the best possible palliative and end of life care, and to this end, we are working with Marie Curie and others to support this”.

Categories
Assisted dying assisted suicide Care Not Killing

Isle of Man Parliament to vote on Assisted Suicide

Not Dead Yet is very concerned to learn that there is going to be a vote on assisted suicide in the Tynwald on the Isle of Man on Tuesday 21st Jan. There is no safe system of assisted suicide and disabled people want help to live, not to die. We would ask on anyone who lives on the Isle of Man to write to their Members of the House of Keys expressing concern about this vote and calling on MHKs to oppose this motion.

Categories
Assisted dying assisted suicide Disability

GP’s are being surveyed on Assisted Dying – Time to Act.

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) is in the process of consulting its 53,000 members as to what its stance should be on whether there should be a change in the law on assisted dying.

The College last consulted its members on the issue in 2013. The result, announced in February 2014, was that the College should not change its stance, and as such, its current position is that it is opposed to any change in the law on assisted dying.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the RCGP, said: “Assisted dying is an incredibly emotive issue that polarises opinions. “It has been nearly six years since we asked our members as to whether we should support a change in the law on assisted dying – since then, it is possible that views within our membership have shifted. “As such, RCGP Council has decided that the time is right to conduct this consultation, and we will be issuing further details of how we will do this in due course.”

GP’s have until 13th December to submit their answer.

We are aware that just about everyone has a view on this and just about everyone has been asked what their opinion is. Everyone but us, the people who could be most affected.

Baroness Jane Campbell states, “Most disabled people oppose assisted suicide. We do not want it. We campaign against it. We are frightened by attempts to change the law, thereby weakening or removing the protection that we currently depend upon. Protection that is provided to everyone by Section 2 of the Suicide Act 1961. We do not wish to be treated differently because we are terminally ill or disabled. Those seeking to change the law do not do so in our name. In fact, we are so fearful of a change in the law that we established Not Dead Yet UK to oppose all attempts to legalise assisted suicide. We find efforts to propagate the euphemism “assisted dying” sinister and alarming.”

There is still time for you to influence your GP’s decision.

If you are visiting your surgery or in touch via other means ask your GP how they intend to vote on this crucial issue.

Please make sure that you tell your GP that you are against a change in the law.

 

Categories
Assisted dying assisted suicide Disability

Vince Cable causes real concern

Responding to the news that the Royal College of Physicians has adopted a neutral stance on assisted dying, Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable said “As someone who has recently been persuaded of the merits of allowing properly regulated assisted dying with safeguards, it is reassuring that many medical professionals are also making the same journey.

“Opinion is changing and it is now overdue that legislation should come forward to address this important social issue.”

We believe that Mr Cable’s faith in so-called “safeguards” is misplaced. Furthermore, all previous debates in parliament have rejected changing the law in part because safeguards were not safe.

We are calling any LibDem members of NDYUK or if you have some leverage or connection, to please contact the LibDem party and Vince Cable MP and explain to them why this is not a good idea.

Categories
Assisted dying assisted suicide

Welcome Tony Baldwinson

Many of you will recall how much support the late Juliet Marlow provided to Not Dead Yet UK. We came to rely on her to keep the NDYUK ship afloat and to ensure that our message was broadcast far and wide.

Her death was a tremendous shock and left a very big hole in our hearts and in the way we organise and manage our campaigns. Fortunately, another great ally, Tony Baldwinson has volunteered his time and expertise to help support us. We are delighted to have him as part of our group.

Tony will take on many of Juliet’s past activities. He will manage our social media campaign work and support our communications with members and supporters.

Tony works as a project manager and activist with over 40 years’ experience in the public, voluntary and community sectors around Manchester, both paid and as a volunteer.

His first involvement in working with the social model was with Manchester Mind’s radical campaigns around 1980. (Tony’s late partner Lorraine Gradwell, was Breakthrough UK’s first chief executive and was known and respected by many disabled activists).

Tony’s has a degree in Computation and his Masters was on The history of the photography of disabled people’s organisations in England. His favourite ‘find’ was a photo negative of a protest march in 1920 under a banner saying “Justice Not Charity”.

He is currently working on the creation of detailed archives for around a dozen radical disability and mental health organisations.

His day job is in managing projects with EU funding.

You can contact Tony at tonybaldwinson24@gmail.com

Good luck Tony and welcome aboard.

Categories
Assisted dying assisted suicide

Noel Conway has lost his appeal at the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court judges rejected Noel Conway’s bid to appeal against the ruling, as his chance of success was “not sufficient”.

It means Mr Conway’s case cannot proceed any further.

In a joint statement the judges, Lady Hale, Lord Reed and Lord Kerr, said they had reached their decision “not without some reluctance”.

For more information

BBC  https://bbc.in/2zs5k81   

Guardian http://bit.ly/2P5AKWu

 

Categories
Assisted dying assisted suicide

Conway has applied for permission to appeal.

The Supreme Court has received an application for permission to appeal in a case that raises the issue as to whether section 1(2) of the Suicide Act 1961, which makes assisting suicide a crime, is compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights (“the Convention”).

The appellant, Mr Conway, is a 68-year-old man who was diagnosed with a form of motor neurone disease (“MND”) in November 2014. Mr Conway has to use a wheelchair and requires ever increasing levels of assistance with daily life, including breathing, eating and bodily functions.

When Mr Conway has a prognosis of six months or less to live, he wishes to have the option of taking action to end his life peacefully and with dignity, accomplished with the assistance of the medical profession, at a time of his choosing, whilst remaining in control of such final act as may be required to bring about his death.

Mr Conway applied to the High Court for a declaration of incompatibility under section 4 of the Human Rights Act 1998 (“HRA”) on the basis that section 2(1) of the 1961 Act is a disproportionate interference with his right to respect for his private life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human rights. On 5 October 2017, the Divisional Court dismissed Mr Conway’s application, and his appeal was dismissed by the Court of Appeal on 27 June 2018.

The Supreme Court is aware of the urgency of the matter and an oral hearing took place on Thursday 22 November a panel of three Supreme Court Justices. No decision was made at the hearing – Lady Hale said that it would be made ‘as soon as possible’.

Following the Supreme Court hearing, if permission to appeal is granted, a further hearing date will be set to consider the substantive appeal.

Categories
Assisted dying assisted suicide

Disabled People’s Organisations do not support Assisted Suicide!

Once again those who want to see a change in the law on assisted suicide are suggesting that disabled people support this proposal. Not Dead Yet UK challenges this assertion in a letter to the Daily Telegraph posted below.
Dear Sir,
Baroness Meacher, Chairman of Dignity in Dying, claims that “[t]he vast majority of disabled people support assisted dying for the terminally ill” (Letters, Telegraph, August 10, 2016).
This fallacy ignores the fact that in the UK, not one organisation of disabled people supports the legalisation of assisted suicide or euthanasia.  When the Assisted Dying Bill was before the Parliament on the 11th September 2015, many of these groups, along side some of the highest profile disabled politicians and actors were vocal both in the media and outside Parliament to ensure their call for ‘assistance to live, not to die’ could not be ignored.
Many of these disability groups, as well as numerous individuals, put their name to a statement and letter to the editor, clarifying this position as, “We are opposed to the legalisation of Assisted Suicide. It will remove equality and choice from disabled people and further contribute to our oppression. If the Assisted Dying Bill is passed, some Disabled people and terminally ill people’s lives will be ended without their consent through mistakes, subtle pressure and abuse. No safeguards have ever been enacted or proposed that can prevent this outcome – an outcome that can never be undone.  https://www.inclusionlondon.org.uk/campaigns-and-policy/facts-and-information/equality-and-human-rights/reclaiming-our-futures-alliance-statement-opposing-the-legalisation-of-assisted-suicide-2/
In 2014, SCOPE, one of the foremost disability organisations in the UK, polled over 1000 disabled people specifically on the issue of legalising assisted suicide. The poll found that 64% of disabled people – including 72% of young disabled people – are concerned about moves to introduce assisted suicide, believing such a law could put pressure on them to end their lives prematurely.
Finally, while Baroness Meacher says this is an issue about terminal illness and not ‘disability’, I suggest she is yet again misguided.  Almost all of the high profile cases of people calling for assisted suicide are people who are ill or disabled, but not usually terminally so.  In all of the countries, where assisted suicide and euthanasia has been legalised, the laws have been extended to include explicitly disabled people who are not dying.  Furthermore, in the USA where only four states have passed such legislation, the reasons given for people doing so have everything to do with a disability with the top reasons being a loss of dignity, loss of autonomy and loss of ability to do day to day activities.
The vast majority of disabled people continue to oppose a change in the law and remain relieved that on the 11th September 2015, Parliament overwhelmingly defeated the Assisted Dying Bill by 330 – 118 votes.
Yours faithfully,
Liz Carr on behalf of Not Dead Yet UK