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.

 

 

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.