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Most Doctors Don't Support Assisted Dying

Most healthcare professionals do not agree with assisted suicide, a survey released today has shown.

Members and fellows of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) were asked about their personal opinions on assisted dying.

Many (57.5%) of those who completed the survey did not support a change in the law to permit assisted suicide and 62.5% believe that changes in palliative care should enable patients to die with dignity.

While the general outcomes of the survey are the same as in 2006, what is noticeable is that the number of GPs taking this stance has declined by 10.7%.

Dr Andrew Goddard, RCP registrar and senior officer with responsibility for professional matters, said: “These results give us a basis for our position on assisted dying and for responding to proposed legislation, now and in the coming years. While there is still a majority against a change in the law, we recognise there has been a shift in opinion over the past eight years, and will continue to engage with members and fellows on this issue.

In both surveys, members were also asked if they would be willing to participate in a process that enabled a patient to terminate their own life.  Only 20% of doctor's agreed.

 The assisted dying survey was sent to 21,674 fellows and collegiate members of the RCP in the UK, including retired members.