Tuesday 31 July 2012

Age UK's response on euthanasia

Last year SPUC re-launched its information on charities as an online index, with new entries and updated information added as and when new information is received. Today's charity is Age UK.

Age UK was formed when Age Concern England and Help the Aged merged in 2009. (Please see the entries in 2006 edition of SPUC's Charities Bulletin for life-related information about these charities).
In a letter from SPUC dated 23 July 2012, Tom Wright, Age UK's chief executive, said:
"Age UK has a governance framework, agreed by our Board of Trustees, to ensure both legitimacy and corporate ownership of our policy positions. The principles set out within this framework explicitly state that Age UK will not develop policy positions on certain matters, including matters which unnecessarily promote division amongst older people.

I can confirm that as a result of this Age UK does not have a policy position on euthanasia or assisted suicide, nor do we fund or support any campaigns in relation to these issues. In relation to your query on advanced directives, as you might expect, this is a subject on which we are asked for advice by older people and we have developed a factsheet...".
SPUC comment: As anti-euthanasia groups such as SPUC have pointed out over several decades, "one of the key problems with living wills [advanced directives] is their application in circumstances where it would obviously be contrary to best medical practice enacted in the best interests of the patient. It is no surprise that the pro-euthanasia people are very interested in living wills because they see an opportunity to use the denial of treatment - that would be encouraged as the content of a living will - as a form of soft euthanasia." (Dr Greg Pike, Southern Cross Bioethics Institute, 7 August 2008)

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