Categories
Assisted dying assisted suicide Disability

Noel Conway Dies

It was announced on Friday that Noel Conway has died. We send our sympathies to his family and friends at this sad and difficult time.

Mrs Conway said he had died at home on Wednesday after deciding with his family to remove his ventilator.

She said his carers “ensured that Noel had a painless and dignified death, demonstrating empathy and concern for us all”.

Mr Conway who had motor neurone disease campaigned to have the law on assisted suicide changed. He argued that he wanted to decide on the time and manner of his death and that being assisted to die would ensure this wish. His appeal was defeated in 2018.

Baroness Campbell said “We were sad to hear of the death of Mr, Conway but pleased to hear that he died peacefully with his loving family, supported by palliative care. NDYUK campaigns for proper health and social funding and support for people at the end of their  life.”

 

Categories
Assisted dying assisted suicide Disability Do Not Resuscitate Meacher Bil

A Message for DPOs

We are writing to seek your support in opposing the legalising of Assisted Suicide, which will soon be debated in both the UK and Scottish Parliaments. Although, over recent years, there have been several attempts to pass legislation to make Assisted Suicide legal in the UK, these have been overwhelmingly defeated. The UK Supreme Court also ruled against legalising assisted suicide.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a stark reminder of how disabled people are already denied life-saving support based on their impairments. How, then, can we even contemplate legalising Assisted Suicide at this point, when we are routinely denied the resources and support to assist us in living with dignity and respect?

How can you help? At the moment, we are simply asking that your organisation signs up to the statement below. Then please email us back confirming that your organisation is supportive of this. (info@notdeadyetuk.org)

“We add our support to the growing number of disabled people’s organisations, both nationally and internationally, who oppose Assisted Suicide.  At a time in the UK when disabled people are recovering from the effects of the pandemic and facing massive cuts to social care support services and benefits, we need support to live, not assistance to die.”

Finally, below are links to some articles about why many disabled people object to legalising Assisted Suicide and how Covid 19 has highlighted the fact that the lives of disabled people are increasingly deemed to be of less value within our society.

We’re told we are a burden. No wonder disabled people fear assisted suicide; https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/01/disabled-people-assisted-dying-safeguards-pressure

6 out of 10 people who have died from COVID-19 are disabled; https://www.health.org.uk/news-and-comment/news/6-out-of-10-people-who-have-died-from-covid-19-are-disabled

Disabled people like me fear legal assisted suicide: it suggests that some lives are less worth living; https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2019/02/06/disabled-people-like-me-fear-legal-assisted-suicide-it-suggests-that-some-lives-are-less-worth-living/

Doctors Issuing Unlawful ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ Orders For Disabled Covid Patients ‘Outrageous’; https://www.forbes.com/sites/gusalexiou/2020/06/23/unlawful-do-not-resuscitate-orders-for-disabled-covid-patients-outrageous/?sh=66aea2f26cf1

 

Categories
Assisted dying assisted suicide Disability Meacher Bill

We need your help.

The Meacher Bill

We need to ensure that the Meacher Bill fails to attract the necessary support in Parliament. We need your help to contact and persuade Peers and MPs of the dangers this Bill poses to many disabled people.

Letter writing, social and broadcast media work and direct contact with MP’s and Peers are critical.

We have drafted a letter you could use as a template to contact your MP.  Please feel free to edit to suit your purposes.

MP Letter Template

BMA

The BMA is due to debate assisted suicide later this year. It is crucial that they stay neutral or, if possible, are persuaded to oppose a change in the law. We need you to engage with your GP’s and other medical practitioners to express your concerns.

This is why we need a strong campaign to defeat this latest attempt to legalise Assisted Suicide.

Peter Thomas, 47 from Birmingham says, “I’m fearful of others, including some medics, questioning why I haven’t opted for assisted suicide”.

Categories
Assisted dying assisted suicide Disability Meacher Bill

Now is Not the Time

Assisted suicide legislation is a threat to disabled people’s lives, independence and peace of mind.

We recognise that there is a range of views amongst disabled people as a whole on this issue, and we can see the argument for having a sensible, rational debate about assisted dying. But not now.

In every jurisdiction where a form of assisted suicide has been legalised, the numbers dying have increased over time. Once assisted suicide is law, society has endorsed it as an option, equal to that of life. Those who had never considered it will be told that it is an option. Their families, friends, health and social care professions will all know it as an option too.

It is hard enough already for those of us with terminal illnesses and disabilities to get the support services we need to live active, independent lives. The COVID pandemic has made that harder and bought into sharp focus the value society places on us. Many of us have lost health and social care support over the last year. And 6 out of 10 COVID related deaths have been disabled people.

For essential support to become merely the alternative option to assisted suicide terrifies us. That is why no organisation of terminally ill or disabled people has sought a change in the law.

We need help to live – not to die. That means investment in palliative care, pragmatic solutions to social care provision and continued financial support for our world-class NHS.

These are the issues our parliamentarians should be concentrating on, rather than the Pandora’s Box of assisted suicide which might help the few, but at the expense of the many.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/05/26/government-should-helping-people-live-not-die-assisted-suicide/

Categories
Assisted dying assisted suicide

Sunday Times to campaign for law change!

We understand that the Times and Sunday Times are supporting the latest attempt to change the law on assisted suicide.

They are backing a private member’s bill put forward by crossbench peer Baroness Meacher. The bill is scheduled to have its first reading later this week.

We would ask all of our supporters to raise their concerns by contacting the Editor of the Sunday Times.

Here is an extract from the newspaper article published on May the 23rd.

“Assisted dying is a delicate and sensitive issue. Some people are strongly in favour of it becoming legal in the UK, as it is already in a growing number of countries. Others feel strongly that it should not. Everybody, however, should agree that this is not an issue to be swept under the carpet indefinitely, and today The Sunday Times is launching a campaign to legalise assisted dying in this country.”

You can read more here https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/assisted-dying-bill-aims-to-stop-unbearable-suffering-bb966pt8n

 

Categories
assisted suicide Disability

The only proper safeguard is no law change.

Not Dead Yet UK is determined to resist a change in the law on assisted suicide. We believe that it is not possible to provide adequate safeguards to protect the lives of disabled people. We are also deeply concerned that an alteration in the law would inevitably lead to further changes that would put even more disabled people at risk, the “slippery slope” effect.

By way of example, look at what has happened in the Netherlands. Euthanasia in the Netherlands was legalised in 2001 for mentally competent adults 16+ with unbearable physical pain and no prospect of cure also children aged 12 to 16 with parental consent.

In 2006 the Groeningen protocol enabled euthanasia for infants under one year old with parental consent.

In 2008 unbearable physical pain limitation extended to psychiatric pain.

In 2016 euthanasia for mentally incompetent patients began for dementia patients with an advanced directive.

2016 saw a public debate began about people who lived a complete life and in 2017 a draft law was published for euthanasia on request for people aged 75 and older.

In 2020 a draft law was placed before the Dutch Parliament, which proposed that euthanasia should be available for anyone 55yrs or older. This is also being considered for children under 12yrs who are physically suffering.

In Oregon, USA it has been legal for terminally ill, mentally competent adults to have an “assisted death” since 1997. Dignity in Dying (DiD) formerly the Voluntary Euthanasia Society asserts that “there have been no cases of abuse and the law has not been extended beyond terminally ill adults.

These personal stories beg to differ.

Barbara Wagner Oregon, USA

The 64-year-old woman with lung cancer had been in remission, learned the disease had returned and would likely kill her. Her last hope was a $4,000-a-month drug that her doctor prescribed for her, but the insurance company refused to pay. What the Oregon Health Plan did agree to cover, however, were drugs for physician-assisted death. Those drugs would cost about $50.

“if you want to take the pills, we will help you get that from the doctor, and we will stand there and watch you die. But we won’t give you the medication to live.”

Jeanette Hall Oregon, USA

Diagnosed with cancer in 2000 and told she had six months to a year to live. She knew about the assisted suicide law, and asked her doctor about it, because she didn’t want to suffer. Her doctor encouraged her not to give up, and she decided to fight the disease. She underwent chemotherapy and radiation and 20 years later Jeanette Hall is still alive. “I am so happy to be alive! If my doctor had believed in assisted suicide, I would be dead. Assisted suicide should not be legal”

Kathryn Judson Oregon, USA

She wrote of bringing her seriously ill husband to the doctor in the hope of getting the much-needed help and care he deserves but in a harrowing form of events overheard the Doctor giving her husband a sales pitch for assisted suicide and how much of a burden he must be on his wife.
“I was afraid to leave my husband alone again with doctors and nurses”

Roger Foley Ontario, Canada

Has cerebellar ataxia, a fatal neurological disorder that limits his ability to move his arms and legs. He launched a landmark lawsuit alleging that health officials would not provide him with an assisted home care team of his choosing but instead offered him an assisted death.
“Persons with disabilities have to initiate very lengthy and onerous legal procedures to get their rights recognised,”

Categories
Assisted dying assisted suicide

Great News for Not Dead Yet UK

Not Dead Yet UK has always been a small “but beautifully formed’ group dedicated to fighting for the rights of disabled people, specifically to prevent a change in the legislation around assisted suicide.

We are pleased to announce that Zeynab Al-Khero has joined our growing group of supporters as a freelance consultant. Her passion is human rights and humanitarianism after getting to know and working alongside our founder Baroness Jane Campbell she has decided to commit her considerable talents to support the work of Not Dead Yet UK.

Zeynab will concentrate on research and provide us with important data and insights that we can then deploy to support our work and our campaign.

Zeynab has a Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice and has previously volunteered for the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development.

We are pleased and delighted to welcome Zeynab to the group.

Categories
Assisted dying assisted suicide

BMA to Discuss Assisted Dying

As a result of the pandemic, the BMA postponed discussing the survey results on assisted dying in 2020.

The BMA stated, “The intention has always been to allow time for thorough, in-depth debate on this issue, and therefore, after careful consideration and consultation with members, it was decided that assisted dying should not be debated or voted on during this year’s (2020) one-day meeting. Instead, it will be debated at the next full ARM in June 2021”.

Not Dead Yet UK is totally opposed to a change in the law on assisted dying. We are formulating plans to contact GP’s to persuade them to remain opposed to assisted dying in order to protect their vulnerable patients.

We will contact all Not Dead Yet UK supporters over the coming days to share our plans and to seek support.

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.