Letter to the Sunday Times from Silent Witness actress Liz Carr
At the sharp end
In September 2015, MPs voted 330-118 against legalising assisted suicide. What has changed in the past six years for the matter to return to parliament?
Then, as now, the majority of doctors who would be licensed to provide the lethal drugs did not want a bill passed. This included the Association for Palliative Medicine and the British Geriatric Society, the experts on end-of-life care.
Then, as now, no organisation of disabled people supported assisted suicide. Many of us have degenerative conditions and the idea of an assisted suicide law terrifies us.
Then, as now, supporters of assisted suicide said that the current law was broken. The current law is exactly where it needs to be when the consequences of abuse or mistakes are fatal. What are broken are the social and healthcare support systems, which are overstretched, underfunded and increasingly unable to meet a burgeoning need.
Then, as now, the safety of the many had to overrule the desires of the few. MPs must again vote against legalising assisted suicide.
Liz Carr, London N1——————————————————
Two other letters and an editorial
That anyone should still die is pain or distress is unacceptable. Sadly, it is not surprising when more than 275 people a day in the UK need specialist palliative care and fail to receive that care. This is the scandal that lies at the heart of unrelieved suffering.
This country relies on charitable donations to fund its palliative care services. Why does The Sunday Times tolerate this, campaigning to end patients’ lives without giving them the chance of improved quality?
Palliative care should be a core NHS service. Assisting suicide is not the answer to inadequate NHS provision.
Claud Regnard, honorary consultant in palliative care medicine, Newcastle upon Tyne——————————————
Public opinion is said to be in favour of assisted dying. But it is also in favour of the restoration of capital punishment for murderers and terrorists. It is not a good barometer to use in ethical and moral arguments.
Mark McNally, Consett, Co Durham: ————————————
“The Lords Bill on Assisted Dying should not be revived” -This is what The Times rightly concluded in an Editorial last time Parliament gave this issue consideration.