It’s only the first week and already we have had two stories in the news in the UK that have huge implications for care of older people. In England, a terminally ill man called Noel Conway, has begun a legal fight for the right to die. This is not the first time that this has happened this though is the first case since campaigners lost their appeal at the Supreme Court in 2014. The Supreme Court made it clear at that time that it was up to Parliament to deal with any decision on amending the law. So in September 2015, MPs rejected plans for a right to die in England and Wales, in their first vote on the issue in almost 20 years.
It’s worth noting that Canada, California and Colorado all introduced assisted dying in 2016 and later this year the State government in Victoria, Australia, plans to introduce legislation to allow doctors to help the terminally ill to die. Whatever your thoughts on this topic, this case will raise the issue once again, one hotly debated already in Scotland by in response to the late MP Margo Macdonald’s Assisted Suicide Bill. This was rejected almost overwhelmingly by the Scottish Parliament 82 votes to 36 following a debate at Holyrood. You can read more about Noel Conway’s case at Shropshire News
The second story involves delayed discharges in Scotland. Following a Freedom of Information request it has been revealed that nearly 700 NHS patients ‘died while waiting to be discharged’ over a 19-month period. These patients had all previously been declared as medically fit to leave hospital. The challenge that this is causing Scotland’s NHS is outlined well in the following article taken from the Herald. See Herald Opinion on Delayed Discharge.
Scotland’s NHS delayed discharge figures are not a secret. They are published regularly by ISD Scotland see
Two stories that I have no doubt that will be re-visited as 2017 proceeds.