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NHS Meltdown: Scandalously Few Pain Control Specialists in UK--and Some Want to Legalize Assisted Suicide?

Posted Mar 15 2009 4:15pm
The deficiencies in the UK's health system are varied and many. And still, euthanasia advocates there push for assisted suicide to be legalized. But the Guardian --a left-wing paper--has just reported that the inability of UK patients to gain access good pain control is scandalous. From the story:
Thousands of Britons are enduring unnecessary pain because of a lack of specialist clinics to ease their suffering, the government's chief medical officer will warn this week in his annual report.

Professor Sir Liam Donaldson will argue that many people are forced to put up with pain which may prevent them working, disturb their sleep, trigger depression and wreck their quality of life when it could have been alleviated with the right help. Almost eight million Britons suffer chronic pain persisting for more than three months, including back pain, migraine and pelvic pain caused by gynaecological conditions, as well as suffering associated with terminal illness. Yet Britain currently has only one pain management specialist for every 250,000 citizens, meaning only one in seven sufferers ever gets to a specialist.
Legalizing assisted suicide in the face of such bad palliation isn't going to solve the problem, it will surrender to it. The reporter even got the connection.
Asked whether better pain relief could, as some anti-euthanasia supporters argue, reduce the demand for doctor-assisted suicide from people with terminal conditions, Donaldson said: "I think this concept of a good death is very bound up with the lack of pain and the sort of serene quality that people enter when they are free of pain, so I guess all of the feelings that surround that are bound up to a large extent with pain."
Good for the reporter of this story for asking the question.
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