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 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
Blog

Press release – Disabled people’s opposition to assisted suicide remains strong a year after Marris assisted suicide Bill defeat

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DISABLED PEOPLE’S OPPOSITION TO ASSISTED SUICIDE REMAINS STRONG A YEAR AFTER MARRIS ASSISTED SUICIDE BILL DEFEAT

On Sunday 11th September 2016 Not Dead Yet UK and other disability rights activists from around the country will be remembering the first anniversary of the victory over Rob Marris MP’s Assisted Dying Bill on 11th September 2015.

Last year MPs in the House of Commons overwhelmingly voted to reject Marris’ bill, which would allow doctors to legally assist terminally ill people to prematurely end their own lives by 330 votes to 118.  This landslide victory was matched in both the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly. In Scotland, MSPs voted against MSP Patrick Harvie’s assisted suicide bill by 82 votes to 16 while in Wales a similar bill was also decisively rejected by 21 votes to 12.

The British Medical Association’s clear opposition to the legalisation of physician assisted suicide was influential in defeating Marris’ bill last September and BMA members voted again in recent months (July 2016), once again voting to reject moves to legalise assisted suicide by 195 to 115, maintaining its strong stance in opposition.

Juliet Marlow, active member of Not Dead Yet UK:

“It is befitting that on World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September, 2016) we renew our opposition to legalised Assisted Suicide by remembering last year’s defeat of Rob Marris’ misguided Private Member’s Bill. Just as we would try and do all we can to prevent the suicide of a non-disabled person we will continue to campaign for disabled people to be treated in the same way. Our suicides, assisted or otherwise, should also be accepted as a tragedy – because our lives are equally worth living.”

Liz Carr, comedian and disability activist said:

“One year ago, we sent a clear message to Parliament that we want support, not suicide. We want help to live, not to die. Parliament responded by overwhelmingly rejecting a measure which would have put the lives of elderly and vulnerable people including those those with all types of impairment at risk.

The latest statistics from Washington’s Department of Health show that in the same year assisted suicide was rejected in the UK, the number of physician assisted deaths in the state peaked at its highest recorded level, with over half of those individuals citing that they did ‘not wish to be a burden on others’ and a growing number citing financial pressure as a factor in their decision. This is not about choice in death, this is a failure to support those in need.”

Baroness Jane Campbell said:

“Parliament has looked at the evidence and voted against legalising assisted suicide consistently for decades. Their opinion is not shifting. 74% of MPs voted against this bill compared with 72% back in 1997. The overwhelming evidence suggests that to legislate may possibly alleviate the desperate fears of a small number, whilst putting thousands at risk. Our Parliamentary democracy must protect the nation as a whole. Individual cases make bad law. Our energies should go on supporting and helping the few to have as good a death as possible, which means greater support and resources given to the hospice movement in the UK, more effective social care support and a greater understanding of the needs of elderly and disabled people at end of their lives. We are convinced that if we get that right, people will not desperately ask others to kill them, which is a terrible burden for both to carry.”

ENDS

For interviews or further information please contact Not Dead Yet UK spokesperson Juliet Marlow at emailnotdeadyet@gmail.com

For more information on Not Dead Yet UK visit our website: www.notdeadyetuk.org

Categories
Assisted dying assisted suicide Disability Entertainment

Assisted Suicide – The Musical

Disabled activist, actor and comedian Liz Carr has chosen the spectacular world of musical theatre as the backdrop to exploring the complex and controversial subject of assisted suicide in her new show Assisted Suicide: The Musical.

On September 11th 2015, MPs voted overwhelmingly against legalising assisted suicide. Opinion polls would have you believe that the majority of the UK population believe it’s a humane choice to legalise assisted suicide for terminally ill or disabled people but Liz and many other disabled people disagree.

Confronting the lack of creative work exploring this most topical taboo, she is joined by director Mark Whitelaw (Duckie, Ursula Martinez, New Art Club), composer Ian Hill (Duckie) and a cast of performers to express an important but often unheard perspective.

Here are further details of dates, times and venues

Assisted Suicide: The Musical Written by Liz Carr Director Mark Whitelaw, Composer Ian Hill,

July Previews

Ahead of the premiere at Unlimited Festival at the Royal Festival Hall on September 10th and 11th, (http://unlimited.southbankcentre.co.uk/events/assisted-suicide-the-musical) we warmly invite you to the preview of Assisted Suicide: The Musical by Liz Carr.

 

Chats Palace, London, Friday 22 and Saturday 23 July , 7.45pm. £12/8 (concession)

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/assisted-suicide-the-musical-preview-tickets-26581199082

Colchester Arts Centre,  Wednesday 27 July, 8pm. Pay What You Can Afford.

http://www.colchesterartscentre.com/events/performance/assisted-suicide-the-musical/?spektrix_bounce=true

Categories
Assisted dying assisted suicide

BMA votes against supporting assisted suicide

You may already be aware that at their meeting on the 21st of June 2017 the BMA voted by 198 to 115 to continue their opposition to assisted suicide. While this provides some comfort to us, we must not lose sight of the fact that those who want to change the law continue to use every device available to them to resurrect the debate. Baroness Meacher recently reminded the House of Lords that problems associated with assisted suicide as set out by Supreme Court *are still not fixed” and there is yet another call for a Royal Commission.

In a recent article in the Guardian Newspaper http://bit.ly/29xHVaf  the Kings Fund suggests that we should look at the evidence coming out of Oregon and the Netherlands which indicate that there has been a major increase in the numbers of people using assisted suicide. Linking this to the BMA’s recent decision, the article points out that in Oregon, “There is “doctor shopping”, whereby people whose doctors won’t participate in assisted dying (and two out of three won’t) seek lethal drugs from other doctors who are willing but have never met them before and know nothing about them beyond case notes. One such doctor issued no less than 27 prescriptions for lethal drugs in 2015 alone”.

The article also makes the point that is better to learn from other people’s mistakes than from your own. Very good advice!

Categories
Assisted dying

A Picture of English life under Queen Mary Tudor 1550

Translated in 1953 by CV Malfatti

This manuscript circa 1550 contains the following interesting account of assisted dying!
 “There is also another merciful treatment that they are accustomed to use on sick people, as follows; when anyone is given up by doctors and there is no remedy for his illness, the nearest relatives take a pillow, put it on the patient’s throat and sit on it, thus causing him to be suffocated this is done by the father to the son as well as by the sons of the father, and, as they have full faith in the doctor’s judgement, that the patient cannot be saved from suffering in any other way they think to please God by freeing him from pain, this kind of merciful action is not to be found among all sorts of people, but only among those of low standing in certain parts of the country remote from the sea, where some barbarous customs still persist owing to their being little contact with the outside world.”