Friday 24 July 2009

Nursing college’s shameful neutral position on assisted suicide

The council of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has adopted a neutral position on the subject of assisted suicide. Its revised position is a shameful manoeuvre which serves the interests of the euthanasia lobby and does not help patients or nurses.

Paul Tully, SPUC’s general secretary, told the media this evening:
“Assisting or encouraging a person to commit suicide is a criminal offence. It is irresponsible for a professional body of carers to adopt a posture that helping a person to commit suicide is a reasonable thing to do.

“For hundreds of years western civilisation has regarded suicide as morally disordered. When suicide ceased to be a crime in 1961, it was made clear by the government that the change was not intended to give any sense of moral approval to suicide. It was from a motive of compassion to families and to survivors of suicide attempts.

“In recent years media coverage of suicide has been distorted by an intensive focus on a tiny handful of untypical cases selected by the pro-euthanasia lobby. While these cases are presented as reasonable people – often terminally ill - doing a reasonable thing, over 5,000 tragic suicides are reported by the Office for National Statistics each year. Typically these are young men (aged 15-44) and are often depressed or emotionally disturbed – but not terminally ill.

“The RCN’s Council have based their change on a consultation exercise in which only a fraction of one percent of their members took part. They clearly have no mandate from nurses as a whole for this move.”

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