Webcast archive: Interview with Kevin Fitzpatrick

This week, we interview a disability advocate from the UK.

In this episode of Euthanasia & Disability, Amy Hasbrouck and Christian Debray discuss:

  • Interview with Kevin Fitzpatrick
  • News Briefs
    • Québec’s suicide prevent week is coming up.
    • Suicides caused by lack of mental health services
    • Holocaust Remembrance Day

Please note that this text is only a script and that our webcast contains additional commentary.


  • Kevin Fitzpatrick, Order of the British Empire, is the Director of Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, International, and holds a PhD in Philosophy
  • He has 40 years direct experience of disability and the issues affecting disabled people.
  • Along with Not Dead Yet UK he is a leader of the resistance to the Falconner Bill that would allow euthanasia/assisted suicide in England.
  • He worked with UK and with Welsh Governments on developing national adoption service plans. He is also a member of the board of the Welsh Ambulance Services Trust, a board member of Consumer Focus Wales, and director of Inclusion21 Ltd.
  • Kevin is a former professor at Swansea University, he led a research team at Cardiff University, and is an associate of the Welsh Institute of Health and Social Care at the University of Glamorgan.
  • He was the first Disability Rights Commissioner for Wales, serving from 2000-2007. He was awarded the OBE for services to disabled people in Wales in 2011.
  • He lives somewhere between France, Wales and Ireland, but he is a consistent and enthusiastic supporter of Manchester United. Welcome Kevin Fitzpatrick.

Questions & Topics:

  • Tell us about yourself, your affiliations, activities and activities.
  • How did you come to oppose assisted suicide / euthanasia?
  • Talk about NDY-UK, its history and evolution.
  • Talk about the “austerity” measures of the Cameron government.
  • WCA / ATOS / throwing people off benefits / suicides
  • Bedroom Tax
  • Dismantling the ILF
    • Describe the Falconer bill and place it in the context of other measures?
    • What is the process of the Falconer bill so far, and where is it going?
    • Describe how NDY-UK has responded to the Falconer bill, including some tactics?
    • Do you want to talk a bit about EPC International?
    • Do you have any ideas as to how we can better communicate with and increase participation of people with disabilities in our movement?


Québec’s suicide prevention week is coming up

  • Suicide prevention awareness week will take place from February 1-7 in Québec
  • It’s important to remember that a major risk indicator for suicide is developing a disability or the diagnosis of a serious illness.
  • Our message: Why do non-disabled people who express a desire to die receive suicide prevention services while people with disabilities who say the same thing get help to kill themselves.
  • Keep in mind recent suicides by people with disabilities in Québec have been related to failure to provide adequate treatment or services to support independence.

More suicides caused by lack of services

  • This month we heard about two people with disabilities who committed suicide because they did not receive necessary mental health services
  • On January 13, the Journal de Montréal reported on the coroner’s findings that a lack of therapy caused the suicide of Diane Coté two years ago. According to the coroner’s report, the Société d’Assurance Automobile du Québec refused to pay for Ms. Coté’s psychotherapy.  Coté had chronic pain and PTSD as a result of a car accident in 2001.
  • In a similar case, a coroner in England determined that the suicide of Deborah Milliken, who had Multiple Sclerosis, was directly linked to a local hospital’s refusal to treat her. Miliken was brought to the hospital by two friends, saying she wanted to kill herself, and that she had a plan to do so.  However the mental health worker said there were no beds and the hospital couldn’t help her, so they sent her home.  She killed herself two days later.

Holocaust Remembrance Day

  • This week we remembered the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, and the entire Holocaust.
  • In their scheme, the Nazis wanted to eliminate “undesired elements” of the human race. In their view, that included Jews, the Roma, gays, and people with physical and mental disabilities.
  • The program to eliminate people with disabilities was called T-4, after the address of the programs Headquarters at #4 Tiergartenstrasse in Berlin.
  • In this context, it’s disturbing that there are so many countries that are in the process of implementing euthanasia programs where people with disabilities are the primary eligible group.