A report on The Dutch Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide Act has been published. The report presents the results of the third evaluation of the efficacy and side-effects of the Act, 15 years after its enforcement. The current practice of end-of-life decisions, developments in the interpretation and conceptualization of the legal requirements, and potential problems and complexities of the review system are examined.
The research shows that the goals of the law are being met. All actors are satisfied with the content and functioning of the law. It also shows that 88% of the Dutch population thinks it’s good that there is a law. 76% can imagine that they would opt for it themselves.
The number of people who received a form of assisted suicide rose from 4050 to 6800 in 2015. This could be explained to the rising number of requests made. Also, the number of requests that is honoured is 55% in 2015. Most of the requests were made by people with somatic disease like cancer. Still a small number of people make a request because of dementia (3%), a psychiatric disorder (4%) or ‘completed life’ (6%).
The NVVE, the Dutch Right-to-Die Society, stated that the results meet their own experiences. They made a remark on the higher numbers of palliative sedation, because they state that: “It should not be the case that people receive palliative sedation when asking for euthanasia”. Besides that, they say that there is still a lot of work to do in creating awareness around end-of-life issues. The research amongst the Dutch public showed that 88% of the people have never talked to their doctor about end-of-life issues (a growing percentage!!).
For the full report (in Dutch), click here. There is an English summary on page 19. A more detailed news item will be uploaded soon.