Before I had even concluded my last blog on the recurring headlines about assisted suicide, a host of new headlines on the same subject appear:-
“Dying without dignity” – Daily Mail – 20th May 2015
“The dam is about to burst on the right to die” – The Times – 28th May 2015
As the population of older people increases and ill-health and frailty overwhelms the NHS and Social Services, clearly this issue won’t go away.
The first headline covers a report by the Parliamentary Health Ombudsman on the appalling end of life care in the NHS. This follows the extended discussion about the use of the “Liverpool Pathway” which appears to have changed very little for the better. Obviously the NHS does not handle death very well, hence the wish of most people to die at home.
The second headline was prompted by yet another Dignitas Death in Switzerland. A thoughtful review by Times journalist, David Aronovitch, of the slow but inexorable progress of Lord Falconer’s assisted dying bill.
These two issues are closely and uncomfortably related. The NHS’s inability to cope with overwhelming numbers of older people who may have complex health needs but are NOT terminally ill. Coupled with politicians oversimplifying and misunderstanding the issues of later life and muddying the waters of morality and expediency.
This is one subject where I can’t see how you can turn a “Grumble” about assisted suicide into a “Smile”.
When you link these two issues together you have a fatal cocktail which will hasten many more older people who have been constantly reminded they are “old, past-it and useless”, to take the final step through :-