Reader’s letters - Monday August 31

Sir John Chilcot should publish his report into the Iraq War, according to one correspondent

Sir John Chilcot should publish his report into the Iraq War, according to one correspondent

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Resist right to die powers

I understand that Bob Marris MP is attempting to create legislation by submitting an ‘Assisted Dying Bill’ through Parliament on the 11 September 2015. Something which we should all resist most emphatically by writing to our MP and requesting them to vote against this folly.

Seventy-seven per cent of our doctors in surveys conducted, quite rightly, oppose this unnecessary legislation as being contrary to their Hippocratic Oath and requiring them to make value judgements about who is worthy to continue living.

This Bill undermines respect for human lives and is ‘a corruption of medicine’. The BMA believes the ‘ongoing improvement in palliative care allows patients to die with dignity’. Pain can be well controlled and this is not usually a deciding factor in anyone wishing to choose assisted physician dying as is presently offered by Dignitas in Switzerland.

It should be clearly understood that if this Bill is approved in Parliament it will introduce euthanasia as the thin end of the wedge for widespread legalisation of assisted suicide throughout the NHS in the UK.

Vulnerable elderly people will be at risk of being killed or agreeing to such treatment if they feel they will become a financial or emotional burden to their families during an economic recession when many families are struggling to make ends meet. A fatal NHS drug administration will be much cheaper than a £500 a week stay in a residential home.

How this will affect us can be seen in other EU Countries who have legalised euthanasia. Since 2008 the Dutch ‘right to die association’ has been campaigning for euthanasia for dementia and mental illness patients.

In 2012 they set up a’ right to die clinic’ and initiated mobile euthanasia teams so that people can be killed in their own homes and even now have called for law change to allow children under 12 to be given ‘the right to die’ Belgium legalised euthanasia for children in 2014 . In each country the numbers of people killed by this means has risen steadily year on year.

The Major Disability Rights groups here have resolutely opposed any change in the law including Action on Elder Abuse, Mencap, Scope, Veterans Association UK, Disability Rights UK, and Not Dead Yet UK.

Writing to our various MPs requesting them to vote against this Bill will hopefully prevent any of this coming to pass in the UK. It is easier to stem this threat to our people’s health and freedom now, rather than attempt to overthrow established legislation subsequently.

E J Tilley, Chorley

Inquiry delay is not acceptable

When Gordon Brown set up the Chilcot inquiry in 2009 to look into the conduct of the Iraq invasion he said: ‘ I don’t expect it to take more than one year’. Six years later we still await publication of the report.

Understandably, the relatives of those killed or maimed are very upset. The PM has rebuked the inquiry chairman and told him to get a move on.

So far the inquiry has cost £10.3m. The chairman is paid £790 a day and is reputed to work only a few hours a day on the report. Many excuses have been offered for the delay including: the need for those criticised to have time to respond, feet-dragging by the lawyers of Tony Blair and other former cabinet members, and the sheer complexity of the inquiry.

It now transpires that several very senior military personnel are going to be criticised in the report and it is their slow response that has been another reason for the delay.

Whatever the reasons, it is clear that as in other inquiries a deadline should have been imposed on the response time. Those involved should have been told if you do not meet the deadline then the paragraphs concerning you will be published without your rebuttal.

The delay in publishing reflects badly on all those involved. Relatives have a right to be angry.

Colonel (retired) Barry Clayton, address supplied

Time to reverse police cutbacks

Following the release of figures from the Office of National Statistics that show an increase in violent crime in Lancashire in 2014, I believe that the time has come for a reversal in police cuts that have seen Lancashire Constabulary lose as many as 700 officers.

Sadly, it is not only the loss of valuable officers on the beat that is causing a surge in violent crime.

Last year it was reported that following the closure of a police station in Chorley, anti-social behaviour figures soared.

Hardly a surprise. Whilst violent crime is on the increase, it doesn’t surprise me that with a reduction in the number of officers on the beat and the closure of local police stations, overall crime statistics have fallen.

With this decline in police presence, the overall crime rate has artificially fallen because victims are finding it harder to report incidents, allowing for more serious, violent crime to flourish.

Louise Bours, North West UKIP MEP

Join the fight to save NHS drugs

The Off-patent Drugs Bill will be voted on in Parliament on November 6. I am campaigning in support of this Bill and hope my local MP joins me and lends their support to this vital piece of legislation which could benefit hundreds of thousands of patients across the UK.

Supported by Breast Cancer Now, the UK’s largest breast cancer charity, the Bill is designed to address the problem of making drugs that have fallen out of patent, but have since proved effective for clinical uses outside of their original licence, routinely available on the NHS.

If it successfully enters UK law, it will improve access to low-cost treatments for a range of conditions including breast cancer, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s. In order for it to progress a step closer to becoming law, 100 MPs need to turn up and vote in its favour this November.

Neglecting the clinical benefits of off-patent drugs is a huge oversight, especially as these drugs tend to be very low-cost.

Given the budgetary constraints on the NHS, surely this is exactly the type of opportunity that decision-makers should be embracing.

I would encourage others to join me and add their support to Breast Cancer Now’s Unlock Drugs campaign by visiting breastcancernow.org/unlockdrugs

Gretl Cook, Warton, Carnforth