Chesterfield’s Ashgate Hospice expert opposes assisted dying Bill

Pictured is Dr David Brooks who is a palliative medicine consultant at Chesterfield's Ashgate Hospicecare and Chesterfield Royal Hospital.
Pictured is Dr David Brooks who is a palliative medicine consultant at Chesterfield's Ashgate Hospicecare and Chesterfield Royal Hospital.

A top consultant who oversees care at Chesterfield’s Ashgate Hospice has welcomed survey results showing many physicians are opposed to assisted dying.

The survey of members of the Association for Palliative Medicine published on January 16 reveals firm opposition to Physician Assisted Dying Bill by physicians who care for the terminally ill.

APM President and Ashgate Hospicecare Consultant Dr David Brooks, said: “Terminally ill people need care and support from their doctors not encouragement to commit suicide.”

The survey shows that 82per cent of respondents do not support a change in the law on assisted suicide, confirming a similar finding in a survey by the Royal College of Physicians.

RCP’s results showed 85per cent of palliative physicians who are members of the RCP opposed any change in the law and 92per cent opposed physician assisted suicide.

The APM survey also asked if Parliament decides to change the law to allow assisted suicide, should it be within routine medical practice or should its assessment, approval and implementation come from outside medicine such as family court.

As many as 82per cent responded that it should be outside of medicine, with only five per cent responding that it should be part of routine medical practice with 72per cent believing that such legislation would have an adverse effect on palliative care including the care given by hospices. The survey recorded less than four per cent of practicing doctors who responded would be willing to participate fully in the implementation of such legislation, by assessing and deciding suitability, recommending to the court and prescribing lethal medication.

Dr David Brooks, who is also a consultant at Chesterfield Royal Hospital, added: “Doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals for Ashgate Hospicecare dedicate their lives to helping patients with incurable illness live as well as they can for as long as they can. We accept where death is imminent and help them to live those dying days in as much comfort and dignity as possible. The results give a clear message to legislators. Those who care for the terminally ill believe society should be supporting people, not putting them at risk. They make clear if society does want to legalise assisting suicide, this should not be part of medical practice. People need to be confident the doctor is there to care for them whatever happens, not to kill them.”