Why not allow people to choose how to die? | Letters

We are despairing for Terminal Patients and Future Survivors (Times, 6 January). To many in terminal illness, death is as near as the next breath, especially for those lacking funding for Dignitas as medical…

Why not allow people to choose how to die? | Letters

We are despairing for Terminal Patients and Future Survivors (Times, 6 January). To many in terminal illness, death is as near as the next breath, especially for those lacking funding for Dignitas as medical staff can’t agree with them on how to die, religious views prohibit assisted dying and patients that don’t have income, skills, family or friends can’t access travel for such dignified end-of-life choices. Suffering of palliative care, meagre public funding for end-of-life choices and institutional rules make the War on Dying feel like a vicious circle. Prisons provide dignity and security for dying prisoners, compared with solitary confinement that warms mothers’ hearts. There is no firm consensus, yet, on how to end injustice and inequality in end-of-life choices. Why not allow more people to choose how to die?

Rita Hirsch

Medway, Kent

• In your report about Janet Smith, CQC’s cautious but unwavering leadership in the Terminal Medicines (Lohar), the status quo is one our judges describe as “the last bastion of medical deception” (Smith’s nightmare, 21 January). CQC has recommended language changes, at home, in hospices and in key decision-making posts, clarifying that medicines that prevent “normal deaths” should never be prescribed. However, ministerial restrictions on personal use of medicines have included a specified quantity as well as causing harm or unnecessary suffering. The NHS organisation as a whole needs to learn from CQC’s campaign and engage on this issue.

Dr Dawn Badini

Director of CQC’s specialist commissioning group Care Quality Commission

• As a retired hospice nurse, I was shocked by the latest progress report on Terminal Medicines (Lohar), sadly unduly concerned by the deferential responses of all those concerned. Not a single organisation has risen to the challenges raised by Professor Alastair Graham and called for the repeal of the ban on any discussion about the use of Terminal Medicines on a voluntary basis. It is shocking to hear that of all the hospices surveyed, over 75% don’t have regulation in place to which their employees and volunteers would be subject to. I despair of what can be expected as a result of this ignorance and lack of regulation on procedures and effectiveness.

Daphne Gooding

Woking, Surrey

• Wouldn’t it be better if nurses were allowed to prescribe Nurofen tablets (Cowboos promoted as abortion pill, 28 January)?

Dr J K Shantha

King’s Lynn, Norfolk

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