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Patients' charter poses euthanasia danger, warns patients' helpline

1 June 2011

Patients' charter poses euthanasia danger, warns patients' helpline London, 1 June 2011: A proposed charter for terminally-ill patients poses the danger of euthanasia, a patients' helpline has warned.

Patients First Network (PFN) was responding to reports today of the charter's launch by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

Paul Tully of Patients First Network commented: "This move is the latest in an increasing push to undermine the lives of elderly and incapacitated people. The Patients First Network has witnessed an increasing pattern of disregard for the right to life of those who are not necessarily dying, but whose capacity to act and communicate independently is limited. Since the passage of the Mental Capacity Act in 2005, which first gave statutory sanction to euthanasia by neglect, regard for the equal right to life of people who have lost their decision-making capacity has taken a downturn. "Although the legal mechansims in the Mental Capacity Act are not directly used in most cases, it is now commonplace for food and fluids to be withdrawn from patients who need assisted nutrition, in order to kill them. The patients are sedated and cannot complain, and they usually die before relatives or friends realise what is happening. "Euthanasia enthusiasts have also waged a campaign to promote assisted suicide in order to gain public and political support for killing incapacitated people", concluded Mr Tully.

Paul Tully of Patients First Network can be contacted on (0)7939 178719. Patients First Network's helpline is 0800 1691719.

Notes for editors: Patients First Network http://www.spuc.org.uk/about/pfn/pfn is a confidential telephone support service which offers a first point of contact for relatives and friends of patients in hospital who may be in danger of euthanasia by neglect. It is an initiative of SPUC Pro-Life.


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