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160,000 medics to be asked how they feel about assisted dying

This article was taken from: https://news.sky.com/story/160000-medics-to-be-asked-how-they-feel-about-assisted-dying-11927311

By Sky news

The British Medical Association has, since 2006, opposed assisted dying but they’re asking members if they still feel that way.

The British Medical Association is asking its members how they feel about its stance on assisted dying.

The union’s position since 2006 has been that it opposes all forms of assisted dying but last year medics voted for a new poll.

A similar consultation by the Royal College of General Practitioners is also under way, with results due next month.

The Royal College of Physicians has recently dropped its opposition and vowed to take a neutral stance.

The BMA will ask its 160,000 members if the union should support, oppose, or take a neutral stance on any law change to permit doctors to prescribe drugs for eligible patients to administer themselves to end their own lives.

They will also be asked if doctors should be able to administer drugs to eligible patients with the intention of ending life, while general opinions and experiences will also be invited.

Results will be discussed at this year’s annual conference in Edinburgh.

Dr John Chisholm, chairman of the BMA’s medical ethics committee, said: “Physician-assisted dying is an extremely sensitive issue that understandably ignites a broad range of strong personal views across both the general public and the medical profession.

“Doctors and medical students have a particular interest in discussions around legislation because any change in the law would impact on them not just personally, but professionally.

“Therefore, this poll will allow us to gather information about the breadth of views held by our membership, which will then inform any future policy decisions and how we respond to any proposals for a change in the law.”

Dr Helena McKeown, BMA representative body chairwoman, added: “The BMA represents doctors and medical students across the UK, and it’s imperative that the views of all of our members are heard and considered in the development of policy on this very important topic.

“We’re asking every member to please make the time to take part in our survey, so as to ensure we have the best debate we can in June.”

Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland said the government had no plans to launch an inquiry into current laws preventing euthanasia.

He added: “Personally, I have grave doubts about the ability of legislation to be watertight when it comes to the potential for abuse.

“But, as Lord Chancellor, you will understand that whatever my personal view, I must listen to all sides of the debate on this complex issue.”