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Nurses to be consulted on assisted suicide

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) will today launch a consultation for members on the debate surrounding assisted suicide.

Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said:

“Many people have strong views on assisted suicide, an issue which provokes compelling arguments and passionate support on both sides of the debate. Recent high-profile cases have prompted the RCN to open a consultation to offer all members the opportunity to share their views on this sensitive but important issue.

"I urge all members to make their voice heard by participating in the consultation, either through forums, branches, as individuals or through regional and country boards.”

To support the debate, the RCN has produced a briefing document, detailing the current legal and parliamentary positions on the debate, which vary between the four UK countries.

The briefing, available online, also lists current arguments both for and against assisted suicide and potential issues relating to nursing practice. The RCN aims to make the consultation as wide ranging as possible to ensure all members have their say.

The consultation opens today and members have until Friday 22 May 2009 to have their say. Submissions will be welcomed from all members, and will be accepted from branches, forums and country and regional boards along with individual submissions via the RCN members' website.