Rising rates of assisted suicide could be reduced by spending more on end-of-life care: argues LSBU expert
21 August 2014
The number of people going abroad to take their own lives
has doubled within the space of four years, according to a study published online
today by the Journal of Medical Ethics. The report revealed that 611 people who
were not resident in Switzerland had been helped to die between 2008 and 2012 -
with UK and German nationals making up almost two thirds of the total.
Twycross of London South Bank University's School of Health and Social Care has
spent more than two decades researching pain management practices.
the journal Evidence Based Nursing today, Dr Twycross argues: "Many advocates
for assisted suicide believe it is needed because of a friend or relative who
experienced a protracted or painful death. So the issue may be a need to
provide good end-of-life (palliative) care to all rather than to change the
providing quality palliative care is not cheap and so may be seen not to be a
realistic option in an age of austerity when the health service needs to make
cost savings year on year".
adds that some people argue that good palliative care will not stop people
asking for assisted suicide and that there will also be some terminally ill
people who want to hasten their death. But there is some evidence that the
reason for seeking to hasten death is often associated with a long-standing
personal belief rather than issues with pain and symptom management.
of assisted suicide claim that with appropriate safeguards the risks are minimised.
However, a recent review suggests that safeguards are often ignored. Autonomy
is important; but it could be that, in matters of life and death, you cannot
create freedom for the few without taking away adequate safeguards for the
many." Dr Twycross concludes.