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Landmark Canadian court case proves euthanasia safeguards aren’t there

20 March 2018

“The current landmark court case in Canada again reinforces the fact that laws legalising euthanasia cannot provide safeguards that work,” says Dr Peter Thirkell, Care Alliance Secretary.

Roger Foley has cerebellar ataxia, a terminal and incurable severe brain disorder that limits movement and leaves him unable to perform basic tasks independently. He wants to be able to live at home, but has instead been offered only two options: a forced discharge from hospital or medically assisted death. Because of this, Mr Foley is suing the hospital, several health agencies, and the attorneys general of Ontario and Canada.

“The Canadians haven’t had their law for very long and yet already we can see that the idea of choice is a myth – real choices are not available for patients to be assisted to live,” says Dr Thirkell. “This is happening in the same country that David Seymour calls “advanced” with a law that he points to as an example to be followed.”

“Mr Foley’s case highlights the substantial dangers that people with disability and serious chronic and life-limiting medical conditions will face if Mr Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill is passed.”

Under the End of Life Choice Bill, it is not necessary for a patient to have their basic needs met before seeking euthanasia, and there is no obligation to ensure real alternatives are explored; the patient must simply be “aware” of them.

“The Bill targets people who may have complex health needs, and who rely on our health system for care. We should be providing the highest standard of care and support to live, which meets those needs.”

“True patient-centred care enables the best living possible, personalised to the patient where appropriate medical expertise and care is properly provided. That’s what palliative and hospice care does and that’s why palliative and hospice care should be invested in.”

“Mr Foley wants to live and the irony is that it is the availability of legal euthanasia and assisted suicide that marks for him the end of any choice for life.”

The Care Alliance stands in solidarity with Mr Foley in his action to be assisted to live to, as he says, “build my circle of care that works with me”.

END

Published at Scoop NZ.

For all media enquires please contact Dr Peter Thirkell, Care Alliance Secretary

secretary@carealliance.org.nz

027 563-5086

 

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Care Alliance Submission to Justice Select Committee

12 March 2018

The Care Alliance has made a submission to the Justice Select Committee on the End of Life Choice Bill. Submissions closed on Tuesday 6 March at midnight, and the Committee is now processing and  considering the submissions.

Read the Care Alliance submission below.

Care Alliance Submission to Justice Select Committee March 6 2018

 

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Care Alliance Welcomes Health Select Committee Report

Media Release, 23 November 2017

The legalisation of euthanasia and assisted suicide in Victoria, by the narrowest of margins, introduces an unsafe and unnecessary practice into the heart of their healthcare practice, says Dr Peter Thirkell, Spokesperson for the Care Alliance. Australian medical organisations have stated on numerous occasions that such laws are inherently unsafe, and in the words of the Australian Medical Association mark “a significant shift in medical practice in Victoria.”

The result in Victoria is contrary to what happened in New South Wales just a week earlier where parliamentarians had the wisdom and courage to vote down a similar bill. As NSW Labour health spokesman Walt Secord notes, “It is not possible to put in place sufficient safeguards and protections to prevent abuses of these laws. And this is before we consider the invidious pressures of medical costs, financial burdens on families or the prospect of manipulation in regard to inheritances.”

The Victorian decision also flies in the face of advice from Palliative Care Victoria to their own parliamentary inquiry, opposing the legalisation of euthanasia or assisted suicide and saying that what it really needs is more money to be spent on palliative care. The Care Alliance is reassured by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s promise just yesterday to undertake work on finding a more sustainable model for funding palliative care in New Zealand. This echoes the conclusions of the recent New Zealand Health Select Committee report, which could not recommend any change in the law but rather urged the Government to better support the work and funding of palliative care providers.

Dr Thirkell concludes, “Victoria has ignored the weight of international evidence. It’s not where we start with euthanasia but where a law change would take us – that is the problem. The evidence is clear – where legislation has passed there are quickly pressures to extend it.” The Care Alliance calls on MPs to look carefully at the international evidence while also taking proper account of our own unique context. New Zealand medical, palliative, and hospice organisations all oppose such legislation, as well as 80% of more than 22,000 submissions to the Health Select Committee last year. Euthanasia and assisted suicide are both dangerous and unnecessary.

ENDS

Media contact

Peter Thirkell

027 563-5086