July #4PUF


Something I don’t always remember/get time to do is publish my  4 Previously Untweeted Favourites at the end of each month, but this month I have! It’s a chance for me to pick a tweet from each week of the moth that I have favourited (now “loved”) for one reason or another. They usually reflect my interests, and last month was no different, with the topics being LGBTI+, cancer, mental health and assisted dying:

(4/4) Meet Chalice – the first  superherosuperherohttps://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/jul/04/first-transgender-superhero-chalice-alters-aftershock

(3/4) We want to see 75% of eligible people taking up invitations for bowel cancer screening

(2/4) Too many people are made to feel ashamed because of a mental health problem. Our new video:

(1/4) What can other countries’ experiences tell us about what might happen in Britain if assisted dying were legalised? http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/reports/thenhsif/what-if-assisted-dying-legalised/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_term=thekingsfund

Hopefully you’ll find all of them informative and fingers crossed, interesting too!

As ever, thanks for reading.


Ben 🙂


September #TOTM from 13-09-15 “#TOTW (x13!) Assisted Dying Week”


A little late due to me being on nights this last week, but there was only really one candidate for the title of September’s #TOTM and here it is:


I don’t really need to say anything else, as it’s all in the link!

If you didn’t catch it at the time then take a look now and see what it was all about!

Ben 🙂

#TOTW (x13!) Assisted Dying Week

Hey Folks!

Well as it has been #AssistedDyingWeek, there isn’t a single #TOTW but instead a whole week’s worth to highlight (see below).

Where to begin?

Well, I am hugely disappointed at the result of the vote in the House of Commons. However, this Bill was never going to make it any further really as it did not have the support of the Government. I was surprised at how many MPs did vote against it though. I understand that they were allowed to vote as a matter of conscience, but I thought it was an MP’s role to reflect the thoughts and views of their electorate – the vast majority of whom support the calls for progress toward some form of law governing Assisted Dying. Merely sweeping this issue under the carpet for another 5 years will not give the country what it needs in relation to Assisted Dying. If those MPs that were so against the Bill felt it was poorly written and in need of further safeguards, then the right thing to do would have been to vote YES and to send the Bill through to the next stage. Here it would have been scrutinised line by line, where there would have been plenty of opportunity for further debate and discussion on the law, both as it stands and how it may look in the future. Simply to dismiss it out of hand with some of the ill-thought out language used by some of the MPs was a great shame. It was a sad day for our democracy, when the people that were elected to represent our views, got it so badly wrong, being so out of touch with the people that put them there in the first place.

This is of course a setback, but the fight for a change in the law relating to Assisted Dying will go on. What this Bill has done is to get lots of publicity for the issue and to really bring it out into the open. This is what is needed. I believe that this issue is of such fundamental importance that it should be put to the people of this country in a referendum. If MPs are unable to move this forward then the public should be given the opportunity to decide. Surely there can’t be anything much more important than how people choose to end the lives and the support they can and should be given at such a time. If we are going to be having a referendum on an issue such as Britain’s continued membership of the European Union, then surely the matter of how and when we choose to die would merit such a similar show of public involvement?

I hope that I haven’t bombarded you all with too many tweets on the issue this week, it’s just that this is a matter that I feel very strongly about, and will continue to highlight as the fight for a change in the law goes on!

Thank you for all the favourites/likes/retweets etc this last week and for getting involved. It’s been a while since I had a feature week like this, and I enjoyed putting it all together!

If you feel strongly about this issue, then DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Write to your MP, join a campaign group, get involved! The law will not get changed unless we fight for it!

Thanks again!

Ben 🙂

  1. It’s great to see so many people using to follow the debate on ! This is what is needed – debate, not inaction!
  2. This Bill does not de-value life, far from it. It values quality of life & choice
  3. – Have you contacted your MP to see if they are attending today’s debate. Mine is and I have tweeted her.
  4. – Beautifully, and soundly-written article in support of the right to choose
  5. – “An “assisted dying” law sends the message that, if you are terminally ill…”
  6. “…taking your own life is something for you to consider….” AND SO IT SHOULD BE!!!
  7. – This letter, written by a Doctor, to me says why we *should* allow debate on this
  8. “More thought needs to go into amending the bill further and looking at the practicalities of how assisted dying could be implemented.”
  9. – Some Doctors say that current ‘ law is dangerous and cruel’
  10. – Welby urges MPs: reject right-to-die bill that ‘crosses the Rubicon’
  11. – Former chief prosecutor says laws must change to allow people to die
  12. – ‘ leaves vulnerable at risk’
  13. With the 2nd reading of ‘s Bill due on Friday, I’m having an

Assisted Dying – who decides?

Evening all!

I’ve been meaning to write about this topic for months now, and here I find myself on a Friday night, at home, on-call from work, sat blogging about assisted dying. I almost don’t know where to start, and I think that is what has put me off writing about this before. I’ve tweeted about it a number of times over the last year or so, but never really put down my thoughts on the matter. The 2 key events that have taken place concerning assisted dying have been the rejection of proposed legislation in both the Scottish and UK Parliaments.

Patrick Harvie, leader of the Green Party in Scotland, took up the challenge of championing the legislation on behalf of the late Margo MacDonald in the Scottish Parliament. He pretty much summed-up how I feel, when he said:

Whatever view members take of the detailed operation of this legislation were we to pass it, I hope that all members who understand the basic principle, who accept the idea that human beings have the right to make a decision in circumstances such as a terminal or life-shortening illness, I hope that members will give this bill the opportunity to come forward to the next stage, and then we can begin to debate the amendments that come forward.”

What is the point of Parliament, if not to debate such fundamental matters of importance as those of life and death – literally, in this instance. What frustrates me the most is the fact that both in Scotland and in the rest of the United Kingdom, legislation has been brought forward and then not given the support or time necessary to have proper discussion and to further the debate. If this happens each time such legislation is proposed, then what is the point? I sincerely hope that with the re-introduction of Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill in the current session of the Westminster Parliament, that it progresses further than it managed to last time. For those who oppose it, what have you to fear by letting it progress through the committee stages of the House of Lords and into the House of Commons? This will give everybody the chance to analyse the proposed legislation in more detail and to suggest amendments, which can then in turn be debated. It would appear that the British public is moving towards an acceptance of the principle of assisted dying. If this is the case, then the Parliaments that represent them have a duty to debate, discuss, inform and educate on the matter.

Happily Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill has been re-introduced into the UK Parliament and had its first reading in the House of Lords on June 4th 2015:


There is so much information online and in print about assisted dying. For those of you already interested in the topic then i’m sure you know where to look. However, for those of you that may be new to the debate then the link above is a good place to start. It contains a copy of the proposed legislation, and will take you through its progress.

If you hadn’t already figured it out, then I shall now nail my colours to the mast. I support the basic principle of assisted dying and a persons’ right to choose when they no longer wish to live, even if this involves the assistance of another party. This Bill should be allowed to progress through Parliament and receive the proper scrutiny it requires and deserves – on a matter of such importance.

I will come back to this topic in the future, but I just wanted to put it out there and declare my interest. Please feel free to get in touch, share your views and add to the debate.


#TOTW from 13-03-15 – What Terry Pratchett said about death

This week saw “Death” come to collect Terry Pratchett, so my #TOTW has to be one which contained a number of things that both TP as himself and “Death” said:

What said about  

My favourite quote being:

I dare say that quite a few people have contemplated death for reasons that much later seemed to them to be quite minor. If we are to live in a world where a socially acceptable ‘early death’ can be allowed, it must be allowed as a result of careful consideration.

“Let us consider me as a test case. As I have said, I would like to die peacefully with Thomas Tallis on my iPod before the disease takes me over and I hope that will not be for quite some time to come, because if I knew that I could die at any time I wanted, then suddenly every day would be as precious as a million pounds. If I knew that I could die, I would live. My life, my death, my choice.

(Richard Dimbleby Lecture, 2010)

Couldn’t have put it better myself Sir Terry…but then words were – still are – his speciality!

Bon voyage TP!

#TOTW (18-02-2015) ‘Interesting article regarding attitude of Dutch doctors to Assisted Dying…’

Good evening!

I’d like to kick off this week by thanking all my new followers – 14 this week I think! If I can manage to keep up this rate on average, then I might even make 600 never mind 500 followers by the end of the year! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

As for this week’s #TOTW, well I make no apologies for returning to a topic that I often tweet about…that of assisted dying:

Interesting article regarding attitude of Dutch doctors to *READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE!*

I keep coming back to this topic, as I don’t think there are many more important topics in one’s life than how and when one would like to die, and that’s just my point. I believe it should be our choice as to when we want to shuffle off this mortal coil. This is a conversation we should all be having with our loved ones…NOW…not when it’s too late and we’re not able to convey our views as to how and when we should be switched off, injected with a lethal dose of something, or whatever method is most suitable!

Read the article – all the way to the end – then talk this through with those around you. Please share this with your friends and colleagues, and let’s spread the word! The best way to get over the issues that people have with assisted dying (and to dispel many of the myths that surround it) is to get it out into the open and to talk about it, and not to be embarrassed or afraid to.

Go on…you can do it!

#TOTW (from 30-12-14) ‘Debbie Purdy: Right-to-die campaigner dies’

Welcome to 2015 and my weekly slot #TOTW (Tweet Of The Week), for which this week I have chosen the news of the death of Debbie Purdy, a campaigner for the right of people to decide when they wish to end their lives, and for greater protection for those involved in assisting such deaths:

dies after refusing food. How is this in a “civilised” society?

Also another tweet to an article that Debbie Purdy wrote shortly before her death:

called 4 more legal protection 2 support those who help in

I’m currently researching assisted suicide and euthanasia for a university assignment on the morality of one versus the other and whether either of them can be considered morally permissible. As such, I don’t want to write too much about the topics here in order that I can save it for my academic work. Suffice as to say that I find it totally abhorrent that someone should feel that their only option should they choose to end their own life is to starve themselves to death.

You may not agree with what Debbie Purdy was campaigning for, but I would like to think that in a civilised society (such as that we allegedly live in)  we can agree that if someone, who is of sound mind decides that they wish to choose the timing of the ending of their life, then we should not force them to have to starve in order to achieve their desire i.e. that of a dignified and pain-free death. This is surely something that we can agree is what we would all desire when the time comes.

#TOTW (from 18-07-14): ‘Assisted dying law would lessen suffering says Falconer’

I make no apologies for returning yet again to the subject of assisted dying for my weekly blog update. It couldn’t really have been on anything else, given the events that have taken place. So my #TOTW was actually one of my own, following the passing of the second reading of Lord Falconer’s assisted dying bill in the Lords:

What great news! Common sense has prevailed and now more detailed scrutiny of the bill can take place

It was indeed great news that the Lords had a full day of meaningful debate on what has to be one of the most important ethical matters of our time – the whole issue of how we should have the choice to decide when we’ve had enough and want to call time on our own life. That’s the whole point of this debate. Fundamentally it comes down to an individual’s own choice to decide when they want to die, and not to go on suffering needlessly for months on end, until finally the body gives in and succumbs to the inevitable. The bill – which I have read (link below) – is about providing the individual with the choice to call time on their own life. This, I believe will not be the “slippery slope” that some opponents have suggested it might be. It does not mean that all of a sudden many people are going to want to go ahead with it. What it would do though is give people, that are of sound mind, the right and choice to end their suffering. There is so much that could be said about what has happened, but I like to keep these blogs relatively short, in the hope that people will read all of them and come back for more!

Suffice as to say, even though there is very little likelihood of this particular bill becoming law in this parliament, at least it has now passed to the committee stage in the Lords, where it will be scrutinised in much more detail. This can only be a good thing, and will give those both for and against such a law, the chance to really take a closer look at exactly what it is Lord Falconer is proposing. I will be following this discussion with keen interest, and will no doubt return to the subject for future blogs.

If you haven’t already, then I would ask that those of you who are interested, take the time to read the bill itself:


It’s a very emotive topic, with understandable arguments on both sides. However, it all boils down to personal choice. The right of someone that is of sound mind to choose the time of their own passing.

#TOTW (from 04/07/14): ‘One Chance to Get it Right’

This week seems to have been one where quite a bit about end-of-life care and assisted dying has been in the media, so my choice for #TOTW is:

‘One Chance to Get it Right’ for the care of people who are dying

This is such a massive and emotive topic that I can’t cover all the pros and cons in a little blog update like this. However, I just wanted to take the opportunity to highlight the topic once again and give the chance for people to maybe take a quick look at the link and to consider some of the information – what it means to them personally and to those around them – friends and family for example. I’d love for it to spark some thought about the topic and maybe even discussion amongst you and your friends and family.

The Department of Health has launched a report (quick summary of the main points below) into the needs of people who are dying, their needs and those around them, and they are to be known as #Priorities for Care:

The new Priorities for Care mean that:

  • The possibility that a person may die within the coming days and hours is recognised and communicated clearly, decisions about care are made in accordance with the person’s needs and wishes, and these are reviewed and revised regularly by doctors and nurses.
  • Sensitive communication takes place between staff and the person who is dying and those important to them.
  • The dying person, and those identified as important to them, are involved in decisions about treatment and care.
  • The people important to the dying person are listened to and their needs are respected.
  • Care is tailored to the individual and delivered with compassion – with an individual care plan in place.

The aim is to promote a stronger culture of compassion in the NHS and social care – one that puts people and their families at the centre of decisions about their treatment and care.

As ever, i’d love for you to take a look at the link and give the matter some thought. Feedback and discussion are always welcome!

Take care…