A euthanasia activist nicknamed ‘Dr Death’ is planning another attempt to run suicide workshops in UK towns after facing opposition from concerned local authorities last year.
A new UK tour has been announced by Dr Philip Nitschke’s organisation, Exit International, with meetings planned in London, Stroud, Eastbourne and Bournemouth.
Last year councillors in Bournemouth intervened to prevent a planned workshop in the area because of worries about the impact it could have on vulnerable people.
At the time, Exit International said Bournemouth had been targeted because “there are lots of older people there”.
At his controversial workshops Dr Nitschke offers in-depth exploration of different ways to commit suicide, including “the use of Helium (and other inert gases) and the ‘best’ end-of-life drug Nembutal (and its availability in South American countries, including Mexico)”.
Dr Nitschke’s campaigning in Australia’s Northern Territory led to the legalisation of euthanasia there in the 1990s, but the law was overturned by the federal government nine months later.
Before the law was overturned, he helped four people end their lives using a “Deliverance Machine”. He has continued to advise people on the best way to commit suicide.
Dr Nitschke’s Deliverance Machine consists of a computer that asks patients a series of questions. After they press a button three times, the computer administers a lethal dose of barbiturates.
In recent months pro-euthanasia campaigners have been calling for assisted suicide to be made legal in the UK.
Commenting on Dr Nitschke’s attempt to run a workshop in Bournemouth last year, Councillor Pat Lewis said: “I am extremely concerned. It sounds like he will be giving the exact advice we don’t want to give.
“I’m very upset to hear that he will be putting his ideas forward in our town. The people and families concerned are the most vulnerable – this is very worrying.”