Licensing doctors to administer or supply lethal drugs to seriously-ill patients has no place in the practice of health care
In a statement issued following its meeting in Singapore in July the Asia-Pacific Hospice and Palliative Care Network has condemned proposals to legalise assisted suicide and euthanasia in some parts of the region.
“Australia and New Zealand”, it states, “are acknowledged leaders in fostering palliative care development in the Asia-Pacific region. In much of this region pioneers are struggling to establish good end-of-life services in the face of little political and financial support. Eighty per cent of the world’s dying has little or no access to morphine for pain relief, The United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand have been ranked as the top three countries worldwide in the 2015 Economist Quality of Death Index. The eyes of the world are on these nations and on how they discharge their responsibilities to dying people”.
Licensing the deliberate ending of life by doctors “poses serious risks of sabotaging efforts around the globe to convince governments that pain relief and good end-of-life care are basic human rights”. The statement appeals to governments in the region to recognise their responsibilities on the world stage when considering proposals to legalise ‘assisted dying’.