Most GPs would agree to end life – assisted dying

More than half of GPs would be willing to help a patient die if it was legal, a survey has revealed.

Just a year ago a poll showed far fewer – 19 per cent – would be prepared to assist in a suicide. The new survey also found that, for the first time, a majority of doctors do not oppose an Assisted Dying Bill.

Charity Dignity in Dying said the results were a landmark in the campaign to change the law so medics could help terminally ill patients end their lives if they wished.

They come after the high-profile death of tumour patient Jeffrey Spector, 54, of Lytham, Lancs, at a Swiss Dignitas clinic.

The father of three posed for photos at an emotional final meal with his family and friends before doctors helped him to die.

Dignity in Dying chief executive Sarah Wootton said: “The law has to change.

“Dying Britons are being forced to take matters into their own hands simply to have control over their own death.

“We need to treat terminally ill people with compassion and as doctors we should be respecting patient choice and allow people to have the death that they want.”

Of 1,000 doctors who participated in the poll by MedeConnect medical researchers, 54 per cent said they would be prepared to be involved in assisted dying.

Nearly a third of those polled were in favour of a change in the law.

A parallel survey of more than 5,000 patients found that 86 per cent of people would have increased trust in doctors if assisted dying were legal.

Dr Wooton added: “It should come as no surprise that patients would trust their doctors more if they supported assisted dying because this would allow for more honest, open end-of-life discussions.”

BMAThe British Medical Association – the doctor’s union – opposes a change in the law. Progress of an Assisted Dying Bill being discussed in the House of Lords was halted when the General Election was called.

Boudicca F-L 2015.  Sunday Mirror 31st May 2015  P.23

“My mother was in an appalling state before she died, through dementia, and didn’t have the capacity to ask for the chance of an assisted death. I would have seen it as a true kindness to have helped her pass over, well before, gratefully, a coronary thrombosis took her”

BBC searches for disabled weather presenter

Ian Johnston writes in The Independent – The BBC is looking to train disabled people to become weather presenters “to improve on-screen diversity”, the broadcaster has said.

The free course is designed to “provide an introduction to the world of weather presenting to help men and women with a disability feel comfortable appearing on television, radio and online presenting weather bulletins”.

An advert on the BBC’s careers website says: “Do you want to share your passion for the weather by presenting weather bulletins? do you have a disability? The BBC does not currently have any weather presenters who are disabled and we are actively seeking to improve on screen diversity.

Weather“We will be offering a short training course which will provide an overview of working in the BBC Weather Centre and give practical experience in presenting weather bulletins to camera. You will meet established weather presenters and members of the production team and will  learn what it takes to present BBC weather bulletins. You don’t need to be an expert or to have a qualification in meteorology, but we are looking for people with a proven interest in this area, coupled with lots of enthusiasm!”

While it stresses the training scheme does not guarantee a job, it adds trainees “will be eligible to apply for future vacancies in the team”.

A BBC spokesman dismissed suggestions of political correctness, telling The Daily Telegraph: “There is nothing ‘PC’ about offering training to people with disabilities.

“Is it ‘PC’ to take so long and will successful candidates have a mental illness, cerebral palsy, speech impediment, serious sight problems etc – doubtful! – sorry it doesn’t wash with me”