Assisted Dying 2: Is the private health lobby blocking legislation which has public support?

The late Geraldine McClelland, a former producer of the BBC’s consumer affairs programme Watchdog, calls for a change to British law

dig gm photo (2)Geraldine McClelland, a former producer of the BBC’s consumer affairs programme Watchdog who was suffering from the final stages of lung and liver cancer, has died at the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland, with her brother and sister at her bedside.

In a letter released hours after her death, she called for for a change to British law to allow assisted suicide for the terminally ill:

I am angry that because of the cowardice of our politicians I can’t die in the country I was born in, in my own home.”  

The private health lobby figured prominently in the last Conservative party conference:  health insurers, health advisers, consultants, pharmaceutical manufacturers, bankers financing them, and even specialists in ‘cosmetic anti-aging treatments’. Care organisations, whether relating to care in the home or residential establishments, are a growth industry with a vested interest in keeping clients with them, regardless of indignity and pain.

In the open letter, published in accordance with her wishes, Geraldine McClelland said: ‘I have chosen to travel abroad to die because I cannot have the death I want here in the UK . . . at home, with my family and friends around me”. 

In a harrowing video on Sky News, Geraldine suggested a change in the law for those who could not afford the clinic’s fees and travel costs or who were unfit to make the journey. She said that the same procedure could be followed as that now practised when abortion was sought: the safeguard of a second medical opinion. 

Why doesn’t the British government follow the civilised example of Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Oregon, Washington and Montana

Critics – many of them fundamentalist Christians – have mounted well–financed campaigns instilling the fear that legalisation here would put the elderly, sick and disabled at greater risk. This, despite evidence to the contrary from Oregon, Holland and other areas where assisted dying has been legal for many years.

Though polls show up to 80% public support  for assisted dying, it is a strange that a legislative body which readily allows many healthy – but inconvenient – babies to die – will not agree to give the dying a peaceful end.

 

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Posted on December 8, 2011, in Corporate political nexus, Democracy undermined, Lobbying, Vested interests and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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