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”

Care ‘should be available and free’ at the end of life

People with terminal diseases should be offered more free social care and a greater say in the type of support they receive at the end of their life, MPs said last night.

While most people would like to die at home, a shortfall in community nurses and outreach palliative care services make this difficult, the health select committee said.

A review found that round-the clock access to specialist palliative care in acute and community settings would greatly improve the way terminally ill patients and their families  and carers are treated.WreathCrucially,  patients should be consulted about their wishes to ensure clinicians feel confident talking to people they believe to be near the end of life.

The report was prompted by an independent review of the controversial Liverpool Care Pathway, which recommended doctors withdraw treatment, food and water from sedated patients in some circumstances. This was scrapped in 2013 after investigators discovered cases where patients were left languishing for weeks.

Committee chairwoman and Tory MP Dr Sarah Wollaston said: “There are unacceptable levels of variation in the care that people receive and this needs to be addressed  so that high-quality  end-of-life care is available to everyone regardless of their age, medical condition or where they live.” Both the British Heart Foundation and Parkinson’s UK said that while it was easy to determine end-of-life scenarios with cancer patients, those with other conditions can be ignored.

Steve Ford of Parkinson’s UK said: “Huge numbers of people with Parkinson’s lie unidentified as being at the end of their lives, so wouldn’t  have access to this support.

Giannangell. M Sunday Express 15/03/2015 P.12

“For us to regain pride in our nation, wouldn’t better care for our elderly and dying be a good and necessary start.”