Will caregivers leave the consultation table initiated by Minister Agnès Firmin Le Bodo, charged by President Macron with drawing up a bill on the end of life which must be presented before the end of the summer? If the breaking point has not yet been reached, the hypothesis has been seriously considered by some of the participating organizations – including the essential French Society for Support and Palliative Care (SFAP). They are indeed concerned about the turn taken by the discussions during the first two meetings which were held on 5 and 21 June.
No dialogue with the ministry
On the form, these health professionals wonder about the exact nature of this “in-depth consultation” to which they are invited. “We are consulted, of course, but on purely technical subjects, even though we do not know the framework of the future law”underlines Ségolène Perruchio, vice-president of the SFAP. “Under these conditions, there is a great risk of being exploited by letting the public believe that we have been associated with the writing of a text over which we have, in reality, no control”.
But it is above all on the merits that the shoe pinches. “At the first meeting, we made it clear what we have been repeating for months: for us, killing cannot be healing. But are we heard? »worries Gaël Durel, vice-president of MCOOR, the association of coordinating doctors in nursing homes.
To put the dots on the i, a group of fifteen healthcare organizations of doctors and nurses – in oncology, geriatrics, palliative medicine, nephrology, home hospitalization – sent a letter to Agnès Firmin Le Bodo on Tuesday June 20, at the day before the second meeting, to request that this item be put back on the agenda. What the minister finally accepted.
A modified agenda
The meeting held on Wednesday 21 June, at the end of the afternoon, was an opportunity for the signatories to reaffirm their position: if active assistance in dying is not a treatment, it must be translated place. “There is no question of introducing it into the public health code to make it a medical act. This would damage the relationship with the patients and upset the work of the teams that accompany him. A simple amendment to the Penal Code should suffice to decriminalize the act as an exception to the ban on killingsummarizes Gaël Durel. We have not obtained any assurance from the Minister on this point, which is essential for us ».
Another bone of contention with the ministry: the project, announced by Agnès Firmin Le Bodo, to bring together under a single piece of legislation the openness to active assistance in dying and the development of the offer of end-of-life care. “Putting in the same legislative package, a subject that has consensus and subjects that divide such as euthanasia and assisted suicide is a way of passing the bitter pill, of which we are not fooled”warns Elisabeth Hubert, president of the National Federation of Home Hospitalization Establishments and former Minister of Health.
Pay attention to posture
Asked by La Croix, the minister’s office invites us to put things into perspective. “One, there are no tensions that come from us, but discussions that become a little more difficult because we get into the hard part of a subject that is inherently sensitive. Two, the point of view of caregivers is listened to and heard, and we will be keen to translate it into a text that will be respectful of their practice. But it is up to the government to write the law and to parliamentarians to vote for it.he says. Three, pay attention to the postures displayed by some: the bill in preparation is there to provide a solution to patients whose clinical situations do not find or no longer find a therapeutic response that relieves their suffering. It is for these patients that we must work together. »
The next meeting, scheduled for Wednesday, June 28, will it be an opportunity to resume the thread of a dialogue ready to break? “Now things are clear. We assume the differences and we speak frankly, emphasizes Ségolène Perruchio. The minister has asked us to put our positions in writing for the July 5 meeting. We are going to play the game. We will then see if it is the last. »
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