BMA abandons opposition to assisted dying and adopts neutral stance

- Advertisement -

The British Medical Association has decided to take a neutral stance on the subject of assisted death, leaving its previous opposition to the issue.

- Advertisement -

At its annual representative meeting on Tuesday, the union of leading doctors concluded a debate with a decision to amend their official position. The BMA has opposed assisted dyeing since 2006.

The historic change came after a significant survey last year involving 29,000 BMA members. It turned out that 40 percent of members said the BMA should support a change in the law to allow assisted death, 21 percent said it should take a neutral position, and 33 percent thought the medical body should have its own The attitude should be maintained.


The BMA joins the Royal College of Nurses as well as the Royal College of Physicians, England’s oldest medical college, which in 2019 dropped its protest to aid the dying.

Polls show that most doctors agree that the law must change to allow assisted death.

- Advertisement -

Next month (October) there will be a debate in the House of Lords on possible legislation regarding assisted dyeing, the first time in six years the subject has been debated at Lords.

Assisted dying is currently prohibited in England and Wales under the Suicide Act (1961), and in Northern Ireland under the Criminal Justice Act (1966), which states that anyone who “encourages or aids suicide” is 14 Responsible for up to a year. the prison. There is no specific offense of aiding in suicide in Scotland, but it is possible that helping a person to die could be prosecuted for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

In 2019 Dr Jackie Davis, President of Healthcare Professionals for Assisted Dyeing, proposed a successful proposal for the BMA to survey its members for their views on assisted dying for the first time.

Another resolution passed on Tuesday called for a “strong discretionary right” to be included in any future law on assisted dying in the UK, meaning health workers would conscientiously object to participating in assisted dying. should be able to.

The move to a neutral position on assisted dying was welcomed by some campaign groups, with Dignity in Dying chief executive Sarah Wooten calling it a “victory of common sense”.

She said: “This is a historic judgment and a victory for common sense.

“This brings the BMA in line with a growing number of medical bodies in the UK and around the world who really represent the range of views that health care professionals have on assisted dying.

“Last year’s BMA survey, the largest medical opinion ever on assisted dying, proved that its stance of the opposition was non-representative and undemocratic, largely silencing its membership. It also showed that now more Doctors personally support the change in law rather than oppose it.”

However, Dr Gordon McDonald, chief executive of Care Not Killing, said existing laws protect vulnerable people and do not need to be changed.

He said: “We are naturally disappointed at the divisive nature of this vote as it highlights the divide between doctors who care for patients at the end of their lives, whether in hospitals or hospices, who seek assisted suicide and oppose euthanasia and among doctors who work on unrelated topics, such as child and adolescent psychiatry and occupational health.

“As the BMA’s own survey found, coal-faced doctors who are elderly and mentally ill, who work in palliative care, geriatric medicine and general practice, continue to oppose assisted suicide and euthanasia. because they know it is not needed and this subtle pressure can put on patients to end their lives prematurely.”


Credit: /

- Advertisement -
Mail Us For  DMCA / Credit  Notice

Recent Articles

Stay on top - Get the daily news in your inbox

Related Stories