Monday, August 29, 2011

LONDON: Call for government adviser to be sacked over assisted suicide backing

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Call for government adviser to be sacked over assisted suicide backing

London, 29 August 2011: A leading anti-euthanasia group has called for Martin Green, the government's Dementia Champion, to be sacked after his backing of assisted suicide for elderly patients (Telegraph, 29 Aug

Paul Tully, general secretary of SPUC Pro-Life, said: "Mr Green, who works for the English Community Care Association, representing the interests of care homes, is clearly not interested in caring for some dementia sufferers. He seems to want them dead.

"According to The Telegraph, Mr Green called for 'the mantra of choice and control' for patients to be extended to helping them to commit suicide when they could not do so by themselves. Mr Green is presenting a false and evil argument. It is one thing to offer people choices like whether they are cared for at home or in a hospital - it is altogether different to ask suffering patients whether they think their quality of life is too poor, and whether they want to commit suicide. This will put intolerable pressure on many vulnerable people. It is not unusual for elderly and disabled people to become depressed, and depression is a major factor in suicidal thinking and behaviour. Mr Green argues that suicide is a normal behaviour of capable people. It is not.

"Not only would legalising assisted suicide for the elderly create insecurity and a sense of worthlessness among older people, it would also provoke discrimination and prejudice among carers and care home staff. Imagine a government advisor on race relations saying that immigrants found it difficult to commit suicide and so should be helped to do so.

"The 2005 Mental Capacity Act already allows hospitals to kill certain dependent patients who require assisted feeding and fluids by withholding that care. Dementia patients who have signed documents such as a healthcare power of attorney under the 2005 Act would be sitting targets if assisted suicide became a healthcare choice as Mr Green suggests.

"A man with these views has no place advising the government on health policy, and is a disgrace to the English Community Care Association", concluded Mr Tully.

Paul Tully, general secretary of SPUC Pro-Life, can be contacted on (0)7939 178719. Anthony Ozimic, SPUC Pro-Life's communications manager, can be contacted on (0)7939 177683.

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