The number of people asking to be killed at a euthanasia clinic in the Netherlands rose by 22 per cent in 2019.
Last year, 3,122 people contacted the Euthanasia Expertise Center, which was significantly higher than the two previous years.
In the Netherlands, euthanasia is legal if the person is deemed to be experiencing “hopeless and unbearable suffering” and chooses to end their life.
The Euthanasia Expertise Center specialises in killing those who for whatever reason are unable to receive a lethal injection from their own doctor.
Last year, the clinic killed 898 patients. In July alone it received more than 300 requests.
There was also a 37 per cent rise in requests from dementia patients, from 70 in 2018 to 96 in 2019.
‘Taste for life’
It comes amid the news that a Dutch political party is campaigning for a suicide pill to be made available for over 75-year-olds “without unbearable medical conditions”.
D66, part of the Dutch coalition government, wants to introduce legislation to legalise assisted suicide for elderly but otherwise healthy people.
The move follows a study commissioned by the Dutch Government, claiming that around 10,000 people over 55 years old wish to die.
But Deputy Prime Minister Hugo de Jonge said the Government should “try to restore the taste for life” rather than widening assisted suicide.
MP Carla Dik-Faber added: “Making a suicide pill available would be the most cynical response to people with a death wish.”
She said: “We would be giving up on them instead of wanting to be there for them.”
The MP warned that if such a pill were legalised, many elderly people would be pressured into assisted suicide.
Last month, a Dutch mental health patient shared how she was “overwhelmed and angry” when her new psychiatrist offered her euthanasia during their first appointment.
Manon, who was seeking help for post-traumatic stress disorder, was told she met the criteria to be euthanised.
She said she thought: “Yes, I’m broken, but I want to become whole again. I’m asking for help to get better, not for death!”