Tag Archives: NHS

Eight Simple Ways for the Treasury to Save Money……

17 Jun

Introduction……

We are not broke, we do not need to tighten our belts and we are certainly not ‘all in this together’.  Immigration and welfare benefits are not the drain on the economy our politicians continually claim; they are just an easy target to divert attention and act as a smokescreen to the reality of our economic position.

Here are eight ways to emancipate billions of pounds back into the economy……

1 – IT Projects……

Government IT projects are notorious.  They frequently do not perform the function for which they were designed, go over budget and are delivered late, if at all.  Those that make it into public use are usually redundant within a couple of years due to their failure to be able to communicate with newer systems in other departments.

Here a just a few examples:

1980 – TAURUS was an electronic trading platform designed to make the buying and selling of stocks and shares easier.  Outcome: cancelled.  Cost: £75 million.

2002 to 2011 – Electronic Care Records; one of many NHS IT project failures.  Over nine years and despite numerous attempts to make it work, it was never launched.  Outcome: Discontinued.  Cost: £12 billion.

2008 to 2013 – Digital Media Initiative was the BBCs digital platform.  It was scrapped when it became clear that other media companies could provide services at a much lower cost to the customer.  Outcome: cancelled.  Cost: £98 million.

The Government continues with IT initiatives, the latest being the universal benefit system.  Again, it has over run and will doubtless be over budget, if it ever works at all……

2 – Public and Judicial Enquiries……

It is understandable that the relatives and victims of events like Hillsborough and Bloody Sunday want answers.  However, the Public or Judicial Enquiry has become a tool for politicians to kick issues into the long grass.  They are hugely expensive, often take years to complete and rarely deliver results.  The Hutton enquiry into the Iraq war was carefully limited in terms of what it was enquiring into.  As a result nobody faced prosecution and nobody  suffered any consequences in respect to the ‘sexed up’ document that was used as the justification for going to war.  The same is true of the enquiries into the shooting of John Charles de Menezes and Mark Duggan, or the newspaper sales man Ian Tomlinson who died after being assaulted by a Police Officer whilst walking home from work during a demonstration.  None of these cases has led to the prosecution of the Officers involved.

The Jimmy Savile case has as many as 30 enquiries currently taking place……

3 – Defense Spending……

The Department of Defense should change its name to the Department of Attack, as the last time it defended the UK was during WWII.  It is time we stopped acting under the influence of the US as the worlds’ police force and concentrated our resources on defending UK sovereign territory.  A look at a map will show that there are no threats to the UK from any of its neighbors, most of whom are our allies.  The non geographical and greatly exaggerated ‘al Qaeda’ does not warrant £57 billion per year on defense spending.  Government wastage has led to the building of redundant aircraft carriers and the replacement of the Trident nuclear deterrent, which is not wanted and unnecessary……

4 – Tax Avoidance……

It is estimated that the UK treasury is deprived of £95 billion per year due to tax avoidance.  At the same time, many of the employees of the companies involved receive benefits to support low paid jobs (more on this later).  It is interesting to note and a demonstration of Governments priorities that HMRC have a team of 300 people dedicated to tackling £95b of tax avoidance whilst the DWP has 3000 people dedicated to recovering £1b of benefit overpayments and fraudulent claims……

5 – The Monarchy……

The Queen’s household and assorted hangers on costs the UK tax payer £33.3m in 2013; a rise of £900,000 on the previous year.  Although I am a republican I feel our Queen does deserve credit where credit is due.  She is a tourist attraction, or rather her palaces are, so I don’t propose we wheel our the guillotine just yet.  However, the monarchy are independently wealthy and becomming richer by the day.  Assets such as the Duchy of Cornwall net Prince Charles tens of millions each year.  They also hold a huge private art collection thought to be priceless, all of which they aquired through a questionable hereditary lineage.  I propose that the public purse does contribute towards the Queen’s official duties but the numerous palaces, estates and country retreats should be handed to the National Trust and opened to the public thereby generating an income for their upkeep and relieving the tax payer of a large financial burden……

6 – MPs Expenses and Allowances……

Sure, MPs work a long way from home but then so do thousands of other people who pay for their own travel and expenses.  MPs are already well paid but on top of their salary claim £100m in expenses.  Some of this is for the everyday things you and I pay for out of our own pockets and some is for the second home allowance.  As already mentioned many people commute from as far away as Peterborough, Grantham and even further.  If an MPs commute is deemed reasonable they should pay for it themselves.  If a second home is needed it should be sold when the MP looses their seat to reimburse the tax payers.  Even with the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority overseeing claims, MPs are still receiving far too much money for expenses that the rest of the population are expected to pay for themselves……

7 – Diplomatic Travel……

The year is 2014, not 1914 and with technology there is little need for diplomatic travel when a simple conference call will suffice.  According to the Daily Mail a lot of ‘diplomatic’ travel is little more than an excuse for what they describe as ‘jollies’ and range from £2k to £10k depending on the destination and who is traveling.  This money does not form part of MPs expenses but comes from departmental budgets; the same budgets that have been squeezed by 25% in recent years.  It is rich to say the least to expect the UK public to ‘tighten their belts’ when MPs and Diplomats do not.  We are not ‘all in this together’……

8 – A Fair Pay Act……

It is time that laws are introduced setting out a workable minimum wage.  Not the £6.31 (21+), £5.03 (18 to 20), £3.27 (under 18) and £2.68 (apprentice); all of which are an insult when taking into account the increasing cost of living.  If you earn £6.31 per hour for 37.5 hours per week, you will barely be able to afford necessities.  This is the reason for the various Tax Credits which are paid to top up earnings to a reasonable amount.  But as mentioned earlier, many of the companies that pay minimum wages are also tax avoiders, thereby depriving the treasury twice.  Our whole economy would function better if wages were increased, Tax Credits abolished and tax avoidance curtailed……

None of this is rocket science and all perfectly achievable given the political will.  But instead of tackling the real issues of waste and poverty our representatives continually repeat the mantra of immigration and welfare reform; always being careful not to give factual details.  Immigrants pay in far more than they take out and welfare covers pensions, tax credits, child care allowances and a multitude of other benefits including universal benefits such as family allowance.  Unemployment benefits make up 1 or 2% of the welfare pie.  It is a tactic as old as democracy; divide and rule.  Whilst the arguments are focused on two vulnerable groups who have been demons, it gives the public someone to blame for the hardship they are suffering when in reality, with a little political will, this country could be £250 billion per year better off if only the pigs would pull their heads out from the trough and do the job for which they were elected……

NB: On the Radio 4 Today program (17th June) a recent survey revealed that the majority of residents believe most immigrants come to the UK to claim benefits.  It appears the political message is working……

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Psychotropic Snake Oil……

7 May

‘The Income of the pharmaceutical industry is huge. Much of that income comes from the drugs used to treat mental health. The chances are that at some point in your life you may be prescribed one of these drugs. If you thought that psychiatric medicine is based on sound scientific principles, think again and read on……’

 

Diagnosing Mental Health Illness……dsm5

Unlike any other area of medicine, mental health cannot be diagnosed through a blood, urine or any other scientific test. It is based on the way in which you answer the doctor’s questions and upon the way you are feeling. This is of course subjective. The range of human emotions is wide and covers the elation of child birth through to the sadness of bereavement and everything in between. In many cases there are multiple choice questionnaires, which can be found online. They contain questions such as “I feel sad”, with answers ranging from; not very often, once or twice each month, twice per week and every other day. Try one for yourself online and even if you are perfectly contented with your life you may discover that you have depression, anxiety or even bi-polar disorder (The pharmaceutical industry are often behind ‘self diagnosis’ websites in order to prompt a visit to the GP). The only other element in the diagnosis is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health (DSM), which categorises and matches your ‘symptoms’ with a known mental health disorder. With each new edition of the DSM come new diagnoses. In the DSM I, published in the 1950s, there were 106. The latest edition, DSM V, lists over 300……

 

Once you have a Diagnosis……

Before the 1950s talking therapies were the main way of treating mild to moderate mental health illness. More severe conditions such as Psychosis usually led to hospitalisation, possibly Electro-Convulsive Therapy and even surgical Lobotomy. Contemporary treatments usually involve the prescription of Psychotropic drugs. These fall into many categories but all are thought to affect Neurotransmitters, the main ones being Serotonin and Noradrenalin, although no one really knows how or why they work.

So, supposing you have suffered the bereavement of a long term partner and are feeling down, a little lost and have difficulty concentrating and sleeping. Then you are feeling what humans have felt since time immemorial, however, your doctor may well tell you that you have depression and, after a 15 or 20 minute consultation, you leave with a prescription for an antidepressant; a powerful psychotropic drug with potentially deadly side effects……

 

pills1Developing and Testing Psychotropic Drugs……

After initial laboratory tests for toxicity etc, human trials begin. They often last a maximum of eight weeks; some only four. They are only tested against a placebo and not any other drug. Providing the side effects are moderate in the test group which consists of carefully chosen, healthy people, they can be approved for public use. At this point the public become the guinea pigs, sometimes with devastating consequences……

 

Antidepressants and Suicide……

There are hundreds of well documented cases of people visiting their GP at a difficult time in their life, being prescribed antidepressants and committing suicide within days of starting their medication; remember these are powerful psychotropic drugs. But surely this would have been noticed in the trials? Not if the results are manipulated by interested parties; namely, the pharmaceutical industry that test them. Altering statistics is easy; when trialling the drug you simply leave out the question “Did this medication make you feel suicidal?” We are so used to answering multiple choice questionnaires that clever questioning can return either positive or negative answers depending on how the question was asked, that is, if it was asked at all. They may not make someone who is in perfect health feel that way but if you have been under stress and have a low mood, as in the example given earlier, they can have a far more powerful effect……

 

A Conflict of Interests……seven-pharma-logos-300x200

Any regular readers of my blog will be well aware of the close relationships that exist between industries, regulators, politics and money. It used to be called corruption; paying for politicians’ VIP days out, lobbying and making large donations to political parties. But it seems laws and ethics only apply to the likes of you and I. The pharmaceutical industries are more than happy to pay huge grants to fund research at universities; the same universities that the Psychiatrists who write favourable papers for medical journals work at. Doctors require patients and patients require diseases; diseases that require drugs to treat them. You get the point……

 

Finally……

There are some people with mental health issues that may benefit from medication, but they should be closely monitored and the cause of their distress identified and dealt with alongside medication. Unfortunately, an NHS with limited resources are not able to deliver a high enough standard of care, especially when it comes to talking therapies, so a large group of people get left on medication to numb the pain; medication whose side effects have never been tested beyond a few weeks and what long term damage they may do is an ongoing trial, one in which you may be taking part……

DT_Triangle_Banner‘I am still awaiting a reply to my letter to the Foreign Secretary but I’ll let you know when I do (see previous post “Correspondence with the Government”)……’

 

Privacy Issues that Affect You……

29 Apr

Forward C/O 38 Degrees38 Degrees

 

Have you heard about the latest data sell-off? Right now, the taxman, HMRC, is considering a plan to sell our personal tax details to private companies. Our incomes, the amount of tax we pay, and our tax histories could be sold to the highest bidder.

Tory MP David Davis has branded the plan “borderline insane”. But right now, HMRC is thinking about whether to go ahead anyway. If enough of us come together to create a huge petition, it will show HMRC, and the government that we won’t stand for them selling off our tax details.

Can you sign the petition now to demand HMRC rethink these plans?

Only a few months ago NHS England floated plans to sell off our health records. The outcry was huge, with organisations like the Royal College of GPs responding furiously to the idea that individuals might be identifiable from the data. In less than 24 hours, 150,000 members of 38 Degrees pledged to opt out of the scheme. Together, we forced a change of plan. NHS England panicked and paused the sell-off for 6 months.

If we act fast, we can do the same with HMRC. There is already opposition. MPs have criticised the plans. Tax experts have expressed concern, and organisations like Big Brother Watch are worried about “serious risks to privacy.”

A huge petition could make headlines and embarrass HMRC into dropping the idea. Can you add your name now and stop these plans before it’s too late?

Thanks for getting involved,

The 38 Degrees Team……38 Degrees

Click here for the 38 Degrees home page to sign up for the newsletter and add your support (The 38 Degrees membership is often larger than your MPs majority, so together we can effect change).

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A Race to the Bottom……

26 Nov

Old People for Sale……

As part of the Governments’ efficiency drive, and after much opposition from healthcare professionals, patient groups and cross parliamentary groups, it passed legislation to tender £6 billion worth of NHS contracts.  These range from IT to out of hours services and district nursing.  And are the companies bidding for the lucrative contracts specialists?  No many are not.  Like the company which carries out Work Capability Assessments, Atos, who are French IT company.  The evidence so far does not look good especially if you happen to be unlucky enough to be a patient whose care falls under one of these groups……

Secretary of State for Health

Secretary of State for Health

One of the companies now responsible for delivering care for the NHS is Serco, a name which you may be familiar with, but not for healthcare.  Serco is failing to meet targets in Suffolk.  The company took on the £140 million contract to run community healthcare services last Autumn.  It has had issues with a “performance notice” and a review into potential safety issues has been launched.  According to unpublished figures from the BBC, Serco’s community intervention teams are failing to meet urgent four-hour response targets for nurses, carers and therapists to reach patients at home.  It was also failing to meet non-emergency 72-hour targets.  The report, by clinical commissioners in Suffolk, also reveals delays in producing care plans for palliative patients and carrying out health assessments for children in care.  The Chief Officer of the East and West Suffolk Commissioning Groups, Julian Herbert, said Serco has until the end of the year to meet the eight performance targets, or face fines in early 2014, although this will come as little comfort for any loss of life or serious injury to the patients to whom it was responsible.

Serco gave the usual responses we have come to expect; they are in ‘a transitional stage’, ‘lessons are being learned’ and ‘they are seeking to recruit extra staff’.

The Government is sticking to its mantra that ‘commissioning services from outside of the NHS will deliver better quality of care for the patients and value for money for the tax payer’.  Well, at least half of that statement is accurate.  Can anybody name a government contract that has delivered both better standards and value for money?  Email me if you can think of one.  Out of all of the Government’s initiatives, activities, confidence tricks; call them what you will, this is particularly distasteful as it is peoples’ health that is risk.  Health is the one area which should be sacrosanct and any politician that says it is unaffordable is quite simply lying but here again I’ve fallen into the trap of thinking that the Government is there for the good of the masses rather than to line the pockets of the chosen ones……

Power for the People……

It has come to light, if you’ll excuse the pun, that Britain is in need of a considerable amount of new power stations.  This is manly due the old ones having reached the end of their lives; gas, coal and nuclear alike.  Surely this fact has been known about for some time, and when I say ‘some’ time, I mean 30 years.  Therefore, when the industry was privatised, the cost of building new, and decommissioning old ones, should have been factored into the equation.  After all one would not expect the newly privatised Royal Mail to come to the House of Commons in 15 years time and expect all of their lorries replaced at the tax payers cost?

This appears to be what has happened with the ‘big 6’ energy companies, and now they are seriously expecting us to foot the bill for some shiny new power stations so they continue to sell electricity to us at an astronomically inflated price……

Secretary of State for Energy

Secretary of State for Energy

There has even been talk of the lights going out!  This sounds like the rhetoric of the 1970’s and the 3 day week.  Ahh, but what about all of those big windmills that have appeared mainly in Labour held constituencies and paid for with a whacking great subsidy from your utility bill and huge tax ‘incentives’ for the energy providers.  Whether you think they’re pretty or not, they are next to completely useless.  The clue is in the name, W-I-N-D mills, for absent the cunningly hidden agenda power generation from each and every one requires a traditional backup.

The Government have agreed a deal with French owned EDF to build 2 new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point, Summerset, at a cost of £16 billion, however, they will not be operational before 2023.  They will be the first new power stations to have been built since 1995 and will be Carbon neutral.  Any dangerous nuclear waste will stored at Britain’s new underground storage facility which has not been build yet as it would appear no amount of bribery; a new community centre, amusement park, a few hundred new ‘affordable’ homes, that kind of stuff, is negated by the prospect of sharing your garden with spent Uranium fuel rods with a radioactive half life of 500,000 years……

Perhaps Serco could bid for the storage contract……?

Memo to self – Remember to buy some candles……

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Political Gestures……

3 Aug

Plain Packaging, Plain Arrogance……

The recent proposals to introduce plain packaging for all Tobacco products have been put on hold whilst the Government waits to check the efficacy of the Australian ban.  After all, you wouldn’t want to rush into taking ineffective measures that would damage the enormous profits and tax revenue created by an industry which legally sells a product that kills half of the people who use it.  No; better to wait and see before imposing draconian and expensive measures on the multi-billion dollar industries, who insist that their advertising isn’t aimed a children.

It would seem like a no brainer to most people but not the political elite like Karl McCartney MP, who, along with other political cronies, received a nice Champaign lunch at the Chelsea Flower show, worth £1,100.00 before voting against the ban [no inferences have been drawn].  Mr. McCartney’s benefactor, Japan International Tobacco, didn’t send me a gift, even though I’ve been a loyal customer for 25 years.  I can’t imagine why……

Evidence……

As our Government are so keen on evidence based policy right now, they might like to look at the recommendations of UK Drug Policy Commission (UKDPC) who said in a recent report that the way the Government collect, analyse and use evidence is ‘inadequate’.  They also recommended the setting up of a Royal Commission but it was rejected out of hand by the Prime Minister and Home secretary.  Keith Vaz MP said that ‘After a year of scrutinising Drug Policy, it is clear that many aspects [of the policy] simply aren’t working.

Whilst the Government may want to see whether plain cigarette packaging has any affect on smoking in Australia, no less than seven independent reports by experts in the field of drug prevention, harm reduction and rehabilitation have had any effect on policy.  In fact, every recommendation has been ignored leading to the resignation of Professor David Nutt, the Government’s Chief Policy Advisor.  I’m guessing this may be because drug dealers don’t lobby political parties and give MPs generous gifts……

Other Evidence……

The bravado shown by our Prime Minister with his promises of pornography filters that will keep us all ‘safe’ from indecent images, is evidence that the PM understands less about computer search algorithms than he does about economics.  I have yet to see an expert explain how this could be made to work.  The very idea that someone could simply conjure up a program that can identify what is, and isn’t, indecent images is laughable.  He has offered no suggestions as to how the magic filter will work but has promised us all an ‘opt in’ button as standard.

The definition of what is ‘acceptable’ pornography and what isn’t is the first hurdle.  It is my understanding that sexual acts between consenting adults is legal regardless of how distasteful Mr. Cameron finds it.  We already have an agency which deals with online child exploitation and abuse that do a very good but difficult job.  To bring the PM’s proposals into the fold will make things infinitely more complicated but it’s good PR all the same…….

Stupid Posh Men……

We have a stagnant, crippled economy due the actions of the rapacious financial services industries to which Government pampers and has done nothing to tackle the problem.  Gideon’s jumping for joy over a 0.3% increase in the GDP of our failing economy which is meaningless to people who can’t afford to eat.  The out of touch ‘members’ think they deserve another £10k per year when our hospitals are killing us; not due to bad nursing, due to the seemingly endless appetite for privatisation, centralisation and outsourcing.  Public services have a duty to provide for us.  Private companies have a duty to show returns for their shareholders, the consequence of which is a race to the bottom; selling contracts to the lowest bidder.  A few examples are the ATOS Healthcare mess, G4S incompetence, the now empty centralised fire control centres and the ‘111’ out of hours service.  All Government initiatives, especially those requiring new IT systems, run over cost, over time, over budget and don’t work.

Meanwhile, the best decoy tactics are to demonise the most vulnerable sections of society with a constant barrage of selective statistics that make it appear unemployment and disability is bankrupting the welfare state when the majority of spending goes on pensions (50%), Child and Working Tax Credits and other ‘in work’ benefits, primarily because the people who ‘want to work hard and get on’ are not paid a living wage by the multinational companies who pay almost no taxes themselves.  Perhaps Mr. Cameron should provide them with an ‘opt in’ button on their accounting software.  Immigration is a prime target of spin, when in reality they have no accurate figures but choose to waste tens of thousands of pounds on their divisive mobile billboards stating “In the UK illegally?  Go home or face arrest”.  Because if were here escaping a brutal regime that rapes women in conflict zones and forces marriage and genital mutilation, I would be on the phone quicker than you could say, “Inept, out of touch Etonian posh boys who couldn’t manage a McDonalds, let alone a country’……

Finally……

I’m sad that I live in a country that is run by corrupt back room deals done by the old boy network, where unless you are born into the right bloodline, your chances of progression are severely impaired.  The Police are a disgrace; just ask Mrs. Lawrence, the family of John Charles de Mennenez, or the mothers of children born to climate change protestors of undercover coppers because of the paranoia of ‘the state’.  The mainstream media too are as corrupt as their paymasters.

If anyone still believes that a bunch of tribal cave dwellers, with rusting Kalashnikovs, their transistor radios illegally connected to the intermittent state controlled power supplies, are running a highly organised, well resourced, worldwide terror network ready to strike at any moment, working tirelessly to bring down the UK so they can invade us and impose Sharia law, is sadly mistaken.  The conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan and all the others are as old as written history.  Their only reason to attempt to bring it to our attention with their ill conceived and usually futile attacks is to send a simple message: ‘Western countries get out of our lands and go home”.  Only the workings of a real organised worldwide network of terrorism can pull off 9/11 and 7/7, and they are our own, working under a false flag to give impetus to a global ‘war on terror’ to support the Military Industrial Complex.  They have but one goal; return a profit to the Global Elite whom they serve and sell it to us as a necessary ‘security’ measure.  Munitions aren’t measured in lives lost and lives saved, they are measured like everything else in this shitty world; profits……

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The Crazy World of Medicine……

20 Jun

Austerity is the word of moment.  Accident and Emergency departments are stretched to breaking point; many are closing as are smaller local hospitals.  In a bid to make efficiency savings vital specialist services such as children’s Cardiology departments are be merged into fewer centres.  Some drugs are deemed too expensive, despite there efficacy, whilst other are available under a ‘post code lottery’.  Mental health services have been particularly adversely affected and offer very little in specialist counselling, leaving many people on ineffective medication in its place.  And yet, amidst all of this Homeopathy is an available treatment from the NHS……

Homeopathy was conceived by Samuel Hahnemann in 1796 and based on the principal of similia similibus curentur (like cures like), according to which a substance that causes the symptoms of a disease in a healthy person will act as a cure in a sick person.  Despite rigorous scientific testing is has been proven beyond doubt to be completely implausible and ineffective.  At best it performs in line with the results one would expect from a placebo, at worst it may even be harmful, especially if the patient has such faith in Homeopathy that they forego conventional, proven medical treatments……

Homeopathy has devised its own ‘scientific’ language to describe its treatments.  The original substance which may, or may not be associated with the illness it is intended to treat is diluted with distilled water or alcohol and further diluted.  This process continues until the required dilution is reached.  Counter intuitively, the more dilute the original; the more potent it is considered.  The amounts by which the treatments are diluted defy logic.  For example a Homeopathic dilution of ‘30C’ (the Homeopathic scale), 1ml of solution would be found in a cube of water with sides measuring 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 meters, or 106 light years square.  This means that a 30C Homeopathic remedy is what scientist call ‘water’.  It is far more likely that the solution is contaminated with other substances during the dilution process which has in itself more in common with Witch Doctors than Medical Practitioners.  In fact, there is not enough water on Earth to produce the highest Homeopathic dilutions, yet it is still offered as an alternative treatment by the NHS……

Anecdotal evidence from patients whom swear by the effectiveness of Homeopathy amounts to no evidence whatsoever.  I have a friend with OCD who must stand on every crack in the pavement lest he should suffer bad luck for the rest of that day.  He requires the help of the overstretched Mental Health Services as do the advocates of Homeopathy, which they may be able to get were it not for the latter……

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Paul Lamb Continues Tony Nicklinson’s Case in the Court of Appeal……

15 May

‘Brave Paul Lamb and one other person simply known as ‘Martin’ have been given permission to continue the case of Tony Nicklinson who passes away last year shortly after loosing his case.  Tony was seeking immunity from prosecution for any medical professional assisting him to end his life.  Paul, like Tony, due to their medical conditions where not in a position to take this step without help due to the physical restrictions of their respective illnesses……’

Background……

Both Paul and Tony are the latest in a long line of people who feel that their quality of life has been so profoundly affected by their medical conditions that they feel either now, or at some unspecified point in the future, being able to end their lives with dignity and without pain is their right as autonomous human beings.  The premise behind making such a decision is based upon several understandable factors.  First and foremost is the pain many of them are subjected to on a daily basis.  Secondly, the quality of life they have to endure, in that they are not able to perform even the basic everyday tasks without assistance including going to the bathroom, feeding them self, moving around and some cases even communicating with loved ones.

There is also the question of deterioration in medical condition which the courts seem to take no account of.  If deterioration in health was a new factor, they would be faced with challenging the legal decision all over again.

Like so many before them and one fear many to follow, the steadfast judgements of the courts seem to operate within a ‘one size fits all’ methodology with one issue at its core.  That being the potential for abuse of the law and the vulnerabilities  of certain groups within society who, for whatever reason, may be ‘victims’ of a law permitting euthanasia under certain circumstances……

In the Real World……

Whilst the courts have to give consideration to vulnerable groups and any potential abuse of a carte blanche law permitting assisted dying, I feel we are intelligent enough as a society to make a clear distinction between people like Paul and Tony who are clearly capably of making their feeling known and vulnerable groups who may be acting under duress from others.

The law does not have to be ‘black and white’ and courts could employ the services of Doctors and Mental Health Professionals to establish the merits of each case on a one by one basis.  It is not beyond the courts to identify people who are clearly of sound mind to express when they feel their lives hold no quality and dignity, with little chance of improvement, and to humanly grant them their wish to end them, any more so than to recognise when the plaintiff is requesting such an action under duress.

I am not suggesting a change in law that makes possible the indiscriminate euthanasia of ever sick person but a simplified process under which a judgement can be made without causing delay and upset to those involved.

NIMBYism……

It seems that the opposition to a process which allows ill people the right to end their own lives has fallen foul of the nimbyism which is apparent in many other legal matters and works on the principal that individuals and Judges are not capable of reaching rational decisions.  This is clearly not the case.  Our humanity should allow us to accommodate special circumstances especially when people are suffering……

What can you do……?

 

I have written a ‘Living Will’ of ‘Advance Directive’ to give it its proper name.  It’s quite a simple document that lays out what you want to happen in the event that you should be unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident and unable to make your feelings known.  They are quite straight forward and give instructions on resuscitation and artificial life support.  There is space for you to put a statement of your beliefs and allows you to nominate a proxy, to whom you should make your feelings known.  They can act for you if you are unconscious and not able to make your feeling known at the time.

Although an Advance Directive is not ideal if you feel strongly about this issue, it is a good thing to have in place.  Mine can be seen at the bottom of the post but it is important to print out and give copies to those concerned……

And Finally……

Until the brave battles being fought by Paul Lamb and that of Tony Nicklinson set any precedent in law there is little we can do.  I wish Paul, Martin, Jane Tomlinson and the many others fighting for dignity all the best and hope their tenacity pays off……

My Advance Directive……

ADVANCE DIRECTIVE – Blanks Left to Respect Privacy……

THIS LIVING WILL is made on the 12th day of May 2013.

I:  STEPHEN P_____ W_____ of 1, G_____ D_____, B__________ H____, L______, LN4 ___.  Born on:  3rd February 19__

Being of sound mind make this Advance Directive now as to my medical care and treatment directed to my family, my doctors and any other medical personnel, institution or authority in the event that I shall be unable to make my views known at any time.

I DIRECT as follows:

My life shall not be artificially prolonged and no life sustaining treatment shall be administered, if at any time my attending doctor, consultant or surgeon and one independent medical practitioner certify in writing that in their opinion:

 

a) I have a terminal, incurable or irreversible injury, disease or illness; or

b) I am permanently unconscious, comatose, in a persistent vegetative state with no reasonable chance of recovery; and

c) I am no longer able to make decisions regarding my medical treatment.

In the above circumstances I wish to be permitted to die naturally and to only receive such medical treatment as will alleviate any pain or distressing symptoms so as to make me more comfortable even if this has the effect of shortening my life.

EXCEPTING as follows:

If I have elected to end my own life and have taken steps to bring about this, in the event that I am found I wish to be allowed to die with no medical intervention whatsoever.  I believe this is my right as suicide is permitted in law.  The terms of the above directive shall also apply in this circumstance.

APPOINTMENT OF PROXY

I appoint S____ G______ of 11, S___________ H_____, S____ E__, L______, as my proxy to be involved in all decisions about my medical treatment if I am physically or mentally unable to make my views known. The wishes of S____ G______ should be respected at all times and I confirm that she is fully aware of my wishes.

IN WITNESS of which I have set my hand to this my living will on the day month and year first above written.

SIGNED by the above named in our presence and by us in his/hers.

 

Maker of Living Will

 

Signed:                                                 [Person making living will sign here]

 

Proxy

Signed:                                                 [Proxy sign here]

 

First Witness

Signed:                                                 [First Witness sign here]

Name: [Insert first witness name]

Address:          [Insert address of first witness]

Occupation:     [Insert occupation]

Second Witness

Signed:                                                 [Second Witness sign here]

Name: [Insert second witness name]

Address:          [Insert address of second witness]

Occupation:     [Insert occupation]