While elderly people in Holland are so fearful of euthanasia that they carry cards stating their wish to live, activists in Britain are preparing to launch an advice line for people who want to end their lives.
Kevin Fitzpatrick, writing on the British Medical Journal’s website, quoted a warning previously made by surgeon Lord McColl who said: “Many elderly people in the Netherlands are so fearful of euthanasia that they carry cards around with them saying that they do not want it.”
His comments came as Compassion in Dying, an offshoot of the pro-euthanasia lobby group Dignity in Dying, prepares to launch a controversial end-of-life advice line later this month.
The organisation claims that its new helpline will be “dedicated to providing patients, loved ones and carers with information on end-of-life rights and care”.
But critics have expressed concern over the controversial service.
Alistair Thompson, a spokesman for the Care Not Killing campaign group, said: “All the information anybody needs is already easily available.
“The question is, why is an offshoot of a euthanasia pressure group providing these services at the end of a phone line, for free?”
Sarah Wootton, chief executive of Compassion in Dying, said: “The End of Life Rights Line will only deal with questions around existing rights and choices at the end of life – it will not provide information on how to end life.
“Neither Compassion in Dying nor Dignity in Dying provides this type of information.”
In 2009 Dr Els Borst, the architect of legal euthanasia in Holland, admitted that she may have made a mistake in pushing the law through.
Dr Borst made the comments during an interview for a book, Redeemer Under God.
The former Dutch Health Minister and Deputy Prime Minister admitted that care for the terminally-ill had declined since the law came into effect.