Letter: Euthanasia by default in NHS

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The Independent Online
Sir: You report (7 December) that, in the new market-style NHS, hospitals 'may designate older people who stay on wards longer than average as 'medically unsuitable' for intervention' and that old age, for this purpose, begins at 50. I find this quite extraordinary.

Why should I, an old person with a dozen years to go to retirement, have to pay the same taxes and National Insurance contributions as a younger person, but be at risk of being deemed unsuitable for treatment? Why should my father, who paid his contributions to the NHS from its inception until his retirement, be at risk of the 'age-related admissions policies' which, you report, apply in a fifth of coronary care units? When my son qualified as a doctor six months ago, was he required to take the Hippocratic, or the hypocritic, oath?

Today's market-style NHS would appear to provide unvoluntary euthanasia by default. What a way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Beveridge Report]

Yours faithfully,



7 December