8 June 2006
Dignity in Dying responds to Professor Len Doyal argument for legalising ‘non voluntary euthanasia’ in today’s media.
Deborah Annetts, Dignity in Dying’s Chief Executive, said:
“We do not agree with Professor Doyal that the law needs to be changed for non-competent patients.
“Dignity in Dying advocates that end of life medical treatment decisions should be based around the competent wishes of terminally ill people.
“The current law is morally and clinically indefensible and gives patients too little protection and control. The way to address this is through empowering competent patients, not by further empowering doctors to take decisions for them.
“Doctors make end of life medical treatment decisions resulting in seven out of every ten deaths in Britain.
“People who may later lack capacity to make decisions for themselves can choose to enforce their wishes by making a living will (or advance directive).
“Professor Doyal should look again at the Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill. Its safeguards are based around the needs of competent patients who are suffering unbearably and dying from a terminal illness. The Bill is based on the evidence from Oregon where assisted dying is legalised and works well. The Bill commands huge public support. His suggestions are completely different to these, being based neither around competence nor around terminal illness. This is not something we support.”
Deborah Annetts was co-drafter of the Bill.