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New Zealand must place care over fear

“David Seymour’s Bill is built on fear, whereas true care is built on hope,” says Dr Peter Thirkell, Care Alliance Secretary.

The Care Alliance presented their oral submission to the Justice Select Committee on David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill, advocating that the Bill is neither patient centred nor part of healthcare.

“Truly patient-centred care always asks the question ‘why’ in response to suffering. This essential process of exploration and understanding breaks down fear and builds up hope.”

Contrary to advancing better healthcare, Seymour’s Bill short cuts the process of care. It disregards any genuine focus on patient needs, and simply amplifies a person’s fear of dying and becoming disabled. To the contrary, when people’s fears and other needs are addressed in a holistic way, then people change their mind about euthanasia and assisted suicide.

“The Bill never asks ‘why’, and it never provides an answer to a question it never asks. Ultimately, the Bill abandons a person to those fears of dying and disability, and reinforces their feelings of deficiency, futility, and hopelessness.”

“We are at a crossroads in how to care for those in our society who most need our care,” says Dr Thirkell. “The Bill is unsafe in affirming and amplifying people’s fears – it effectively abandons people to their fears, further burdening vulnerable people and placing them at risk. Ifa Bill is unsafe then it is unjust.”

“We have the means to provide high quality ethical care that attends to peoples pain and suffering and therefore this Bill is also unnecessary. What we need to do is provide more equitable access to good end of life care – let’s all put our minds to that."

The Care Alliance called on the Justice Select Committee to recommend to the House that this unjust Bill not proceed.

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