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GPs want assisted suicide legalised

5th February 2009

A survey has revealed that two-fifths of family doctors would like to see euthanasia legalised.


In addition, a significant number of those polled by GP newspaper revealed that they would be prepared to help a terminally ill patient end their life.

The British Medical Association (BMA) is currently opposed to assisted suicide but the poll among 460 GPs across the UK has identified a groundswell of support for euthanasia.

That could in turn put pressure on the BMA to reconsider its position.

The latest findings counter research in 2004 by the University of Brunel, which found that 82% of GPs backed the ban on euthanasia.

The GP newspaper survey now suggests that 38% of those polled want the ban lifted and that 39% felt they should be able to assist a terminally ill patient in making plans to end their life.

A similar number said they would be prepared to help a patient, if the law was changed.

A spokesman for the charity Dignity in Dying said: “Legislation would be plausible with this level of support from doctors. At the very least, the BMA should have another debate and change its stance to neutral.”

However, a spokesman for Royal College of General Practitioners said: “The college firmly believes that with current improvements in palliative care, good clinical care can be provided within existing legislation.”

Dr Tony Calland, chairman of the BMA’s ethics committee and a former GP, said the BMA does not support any change to the laws surrounding euthanasia.


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Article Information

Title: GPs want assisted suicide legalised
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 10072
Date Added: 5th Feb 2009


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