July 5, 2022

English coroners turn blind eye to assisted suicide, says report

Coroners are ignoring evidence of assisted suicide, claims an unofficial report on the link between chronic and terminal illness and suicide. “The Truth about Suicide”, from the Demos, a progressive London think tank, claims that about 10% of all suicides in England are linked to chronic or terminal illness.

Coroners are ignoring evidence of assisted suicide, claims an unofficial report on the link between chronic and terminal illness and suicide. “The Truth about Suicide”, from the Demos, a progressive London think tank, claims that about 10% of all suicides in England are linked to chronic or terminal illness.

Some coroners admitted that they were reluctant to charge people for assisting a suicide. “There have been many cases where I had suspicions, but I would not see it as my specific job to delve into it. If I had no option then I would, but you might say I didn’t want to know,” said one retired coroner.

However, these estimates are limited by the difficulty of getting data. Some coroners, for instance, said that they had never come across a case of assisted suicide. There is no national data bank which links serious physical illness and suicide.  Demos had to resort to anonymous interview with coroners and with the national health service. Only 29 of 147 NHS primary care trusts were able to provide data for the study.

Nonetheless, the report will be submitted to the unofficial Commission on Assisted Dying which is studying how to liberalise English laws on assisted suicide. “This evidence demonstrates that suicide among terminally and chronically ill people is much more prevalent, and a much greater problem than public policy currently recognises,” states the report. ~ London Telegraph, Aug 23; 

Michael Cook
assisted suicide
England
suicide