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Thursday 27th October 2016

Doctors oppose assisting suicide

30th June 2006

31052006_old_woman_thinking1.jpgDoctors have voted clearly against legalising physician-assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia.

Almost two-thirds of doctors at the Annual Representatives Meeting of the British Medical Association demanded the moves. Ninety-four per cent said non-voluntary euthanasia should not be legalised.

It ends the BMA’s stance of neutrality on assisted dying – adopted at last year’s ARM in Manchester.

Southampton SHO in neurosurgery Stephen Preston warned that legalising any form of assisted dying would be a ‘slippery slope’.

London professor of paediatric imaging Isky Gordon, a board member of campaign group Dignity in Dying, said terminally ill patients who had capacity and were suffering unbearably should have the right to choose.New research shows almost a third of GPs would be willing to assist a terminally ill patient to commit suicide.

It comes as after a UK survey of 200 GPs by GFK Healthcare showed GPs remain divided about assisted dying. Almost a third of GPs would be willing, in principle, and if the law permitted, subject to a range of safeguards, to write a prescription to assist a patient to die, if their suffering could not be relieved by palliative care. 

More than eight out of ten GPs (82%) accept that modern palliative care may not, in a small number of cases, prevent some terminally ill patients from suffering and wishing to receive help to die. Only 20% said they felt it is right for the BMA to reverse its policy after sustained pressure by the Christian Medical Fellowship.


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