In the book “Redeemer under God”, recently published by researcher Anne-Mei The, Els Borst was quoted as having said that she may have made a mistake… and… now says it was brought in ‘far too early’. Without elaborating, she admitted that medical care for the terminally-ill had declined since the law came into effect.
Mrs Borst herself rebutted the assumptions in a letter to the editor of a Dutch paper (NRC).
The article in the UK Daily Mail can be found here. In the following a reaction formulated by webmaster Rob Jonquiere, including parts of the reaction in the letter of Els Borst to NRC, is published:
in my opinion the writer (Anne-Mei The) stated that Palliative Care WAS poor at the time the euthanasia debate started in1971 (the term Palliative Care barely existed then, with only St Christophers and Cecily Saunders in London as pioneers). Els Borst, as minister of Health responsible for the formulation of the Dutch euthanasia law, vehemently denied recently in a Dutch Paper (NRC) the suggestion (conclusions from The’s book review?) that she nowadays thinks she made a mistake then. She was the minister who started a Palliative Care project in the Netherlands some 5 years before (!) the law was discussed, with a strategy to have Palliative Care available in ALL health institutions, and not only in hospices. Currently the Dutch Palliative Care system is in the top of European Palliative Care (nr 4 of 27!!), according to presented results of research at the latest European Association for Palliative Care Congress in 2008.
Els Borst-Eilers’ letter (Dutch with English translation by RJ) can be found below: