Letters in the Times on Monday June 27 (Lord Carey) and Tuesday June 28 (Baroness Finlay) on Assisted Dying
Sir, The Church of England is reportedly adamant that it will maintain its official policy on assisted dying at the General Synod next month (report, Jun 24). ………….the argument for a review of our laws has strengthened.
With proposals for assisted dying legislation progressing in Scotland, Jersey and the Isle of Man …….it is only right that we reflect on what our present laws really mean for people at the end of their life and their families.
……..surely it is time for church leaders to listen to people in the pews who, like me, have changed their views as a result of seeing terrible suffering and indignity towards the end of the lives of those they know and love.
Lord Carey of Clifton
Archbishop of Canterbury, 1991–2002; Newbury
PRIORITY OF PALLIATIVE CARE
Sir, Lord Carey of Clifton (letter, Jun 27) overlooks the important advances in care of the dying, and still proposes death as a solution to medical problems. The Health and Care Act 2022 now requires the NHS to provide palliative care services. Until now, palliative care needs had to be met by charitable fundraising……. The Church of England leaders…….. recognise the dangers of licensing doctors to provide lethal drugs . Such lethal cocktails are experimental and unevaluated. Campaigners' proposals ( contain)… only vague qualifying conditions, which are easily widened in scope to include serious conditions such as anorexia.
Palliative care doctors in Canada now report that patients are fearful they will be offered death rather than care……. People need high-quality care at all times, not fatal shortcuts.
Professor Baroness Finlay of Llandaff, director, Living and Dying Well;
Dr Claud Regnard, director, Keep Assisted Dying Out of Healthcare
A vicar writes: "Over the years I have had a number of conversations with seriously ill people – and their relatives - wondering whether they “should stop being a burden” on everyone else. A change in the law will invite, even encourage the answer, Yes. And there will be financial benefits both for care institutions and for beneficiaries in wills."
VITAL ROLE OF PALLIATIVE CARE
Sir, …….. In places that legalised doctor-assisted dying, palliative care development has dwindled or stalled. The fear of Canadian patients is persisting despite sensitive communication. In Canada, where doctors must offer assisted dying to potentially eligible patients, health economists have even calculated large cost savings. UK palliative care teams, which are already underfunded and under-resourced, want nothing to do with providing lethal drugs. Real choice means keeping assisted dying out of routine clinical care and having good palliative care 24/7.
Ret’d specialist in palliative care, Barry, Vale of Glamorgan