Free Legalizing Euthanasia As A Solution To Nhs Budget Cuts Essay Sample

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Life, Health, Euthanasia, Quality, Nursing, Budget, Funding, Cost

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/11/07

[Class Title]

Euthanasia is a controversial subject in most parts of the Western world, particularly in the UK where NHS budget cuts have had a staggeringly detrimental effect on the severely disabled’s quality of life. Indeed, many countries, including the U.S. are also dealing with spending cuts in healthcare funding as well as an aging baby boomer population that will soon require long-term critical care, be it through home health aides, nursing homes, or the help of their younger family members. Additionally, elderly relatives may feel that they do not want to become an undue burden on their families. If they are facing a terminal illness, they may feel that they want to minimize their own suffering as well as the suffering of their families and friends. Legalizing euthanasia could be a way to relieve some of that systemic and personal suffering; not only for the sake of ethics but also for the sake of allowing the NHS to balance its budget efficiently.
The first point is an ethical consideration: euthanasia allows for a person to die with dignity on their terms. Terminal illnesses such as certain types of cancer or diseases like Alzheimer’s which damage short-term memory, can diminish a person’s quality of life to an extent that they may feel it is no longer worth continuing. Though medical science has come a long way, some diseases, especially those that afflict the elderly, currently have no medical cures and the efficacy of treatments is questionable at best. Sometimes, delaying the inevitable just causes more needless suffering for all of those involved. However, as important as ethical considerations are when it comes to societal and organizational morale, budget considerations can also have an effect on ethics.
Long term critical care gets expensive with life support and treatment of recurring conditions. “Healthcare funding allocations, shortages of beds and nursing staff, as well as an increasing elderly population in the future, will undoubtedly influence policy makers and doctors to look at euthanasia as a means of cost containment” (Life Resources Charitable Trust). Considering the scope and magnitude of this situation, it’s reasonable to suggest that any and all possible solutions should be brought to the table, including euthanasia as reasonable, cost-effective way to solve some of the current problems in healthcare management.
One could argue that life support has the ability to give people more time, but if the patient does not have a living will then the family must decide when or if it’s appropriate to pull the plug. Unfortunately, because of the stigma surrounding euthanasia, many people do not consider obtaining a living will until they’re already at an age where they’re at high risk for terminal illnesses or age-related diseases that hamper quality of life. Therefore, the first step to introducing this idea in a positive way would be for the NHS to run a campaign that focuses on choice.
However, despite the positive ethical, social, and fiscal effects of the legalization of euthanasia, it’s important to keep in mind the arguments of critics. “Opponents to euthanasia claim that the provision of adequate pain management and hospice (palliative) care could improve quality of life and eliminate the demand for euthanasia” (The Life Resources Charitable Trust). However, current funding limitations create a situation where proper care is difficult to obtain – if not entirely out of reach for some citizens.
Inadequate funding for palliative care means that many who reach old-age feel the despair of frustrating physical limitations and endure debilitating conditions that could be treated with proper care. Pro-life groups claim the demand for euthanasia could be eliminated totally with high quality nursing care available across society. Big budget blow-outs in health spending means that health-care providers will be forced to make budget cuts and this will result in less funding being made available for nursing staff and hospital beds. As the ageing population grows there will be increasing pressure to look at euthanasia and assisted suicide as a means of cost containment. Economic cutbacks in health spending pose a major threat to those who are medically marginalised. If assisted suicide or euthanasia became legal, once the public had be de-sensitised to the whole idea it would then increasingly become a method of cost-cutting for health care providers.
(The Life Resources Charitable Trust)
Opponents might also mention that the potential for abuse of poor citizens is possible if the NHS pushes for it too aggressively to save funds. “In Oregon where assisted suicide is legal there are already cost-caps on health care provisions and while some life-saving surgery is considered too expensive the same company will front up with the money for a much cheaper alternative, assisted suicide. The same company can then claim the patient "chose' this option” (The Life Resources Charitable Trust). This was what happened before in Germany during WWII. In that case people were forced to undergo this process, not because they were terminally ill but because they belonged to a class that wasn’t deemed worthy of life by the tyrannical government of that time and place. In a country like the UK, however, it would need to be presented as the only insurable option. In other words, the NHS would need to make it clear that this is a quality of life issue when they present it to the public.

Works Cited

The Life Resources Charitable Trust. "Economic Aspects of Euthanasia." Economic Aspects of Euthanasia., 3 Jan. 2011. Web. 11 Feb. 2015. <>.

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Free Legalizing Euthanasia As A Solution To Nhs Budget Cuts Essay Sample. Free Essay Examples - Published Nov 07, 2020. Accessed August 15, 2022.

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