Letters

Letters: Who will administer end-of-life care if assisted dying becomes law?

Our feature on assisted dying raises wider issues about palliative care capacity in the current healthcare funding crisis. One reader has just gone through the worst time imaginable

There are many questions still to answer about our capacity to support assisted dying in the UK. Image: National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Big Issue readers react to articles on assisted dying, Andrew Tate, social housing and mobile phones in schools.

Assisted dying

Two weeks ago I sat and held my mother’s hand as she slowly died. She was in a care home and a low priority for overstretched district nurses. Although I had badgered her GP to prescribe the necessary medication to stop her from choking on her saliva, the local policy was only to attend to patients in pain so I repeatedly rolled her onto her side and wiped her mouth out as she looked at me with utter panic. Sixteen years previously her husband died in a hospice. He had a “good death”. While I support assisted dying, as an ex-nurse, what is overlooked is the issue of who on earth is going to administer this. There isn’t enough palliative care to go around as it is. My mother had repeatedly asked me to help her die; even with legislation, I fear assisted dying will remain a lottery as to who can access the help they should be given in a civilised society.

Jane Dolby, Reading

Sam’s the man

According to Sam Delaney’s article about Andrew Tate, Labour is looking for positive role models for young men. I would like to recommend one: Sam Delaney. His articles are often depressing, but it is clear that he fully understands his limitations and that life can be difficult. So he is, as he suggests in the article, a real human. And therefore a real man.

Rhea Donaldson 

Empty threat

Regarding empty properties and second homes – it is not acceptable that empty social housing providers are not filling these properties.

What is going to happen when the welfare system collapses? The number of people who find themselves homeless is going to skyrocket even more than the current figures. I have a flat through a housing association and they are fully aware that I cannot work currently, due to health issues, and are fully aware that the welfare system covers my rent. But I still need to go through an affordability application, so as long as I can pay for my rent and any other overcharged capitalist nonsense I am allowed a place to live.

That would explain why people live in poverty and need to feel further belittled by having to go to food banks, etc. Where does this nonsense end, because I encountered discrimination for not being able to work and unable to rent privately, and people are expected to lose all their dignity in begging for scraps.

The reason I have felt compelled to write all this and intend to email all the council boroughs and housing associations in England is to highlight the issues. People say that you can’t change the system. Well, that is what they want you to believe, but the more people unite together and are actively seeking change then anything is possible… even fixing broken Britain.

John Bull, Gosport

Different class

John Bird’s recent column addressed class as a big issue. The educational system has an awful lot to answer for. It will be hard to change things unless it becomes more integrated and less separate between those who can afford private providers and those who can’t. I appreciate scholarships exist, for a few.
Kathrin Luddecke

Wake-up call

Having worked at schools that tolerate mobile phone usage and those that don’t, I would always prefer schools that support a total ban. I do however think that if we can find a way to utilise technology in a manner that encourages learning without the negative distractions that seem to accompany it then we could see a real revolution in schools’ approach to education. 

But there is another factor that isn’t mentioned as much: my wife and I sent our two sons to a school with lax mobile phone rules. When one of my sons joined my school as a learning support assistant last year he joined me on break duty in our canteen. He turned to me and said, “It’s noisy in here, isn’t it?” to which I replied, “Wasn’t it the same in your school?”

“No Dad, it was really quiet. Everyone was on their phones. The kids here are talking to each other.”

Shane Howard  

Power corrupts

You say the online world is bad for us and hope that “…those with power to influence pay heed”. It is those in power who are the most psychotic, detached as they are from reality, living in their privilege and exhibiting a lack of empathy for ordinary people. This results in policy making detrimental to the most vulnerable, of warmongering and behind closed doors signing off of extra-judicial killings. This is a national and international problem where ambitions outstrip abilities and egos override objectivity. Hence we have wars, nuclear threats and a genocidal event taking place. Societal rot starts at the head. The masses suspect, rightfully in many cases, conspiracy theories; the politicians enact them. 

Malcolm Searle

Do you have a story to tell or opinions to share about assisted dying, education or any of the other topics discussed? We want to hear from you. Get in touch and tell us more.

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