Royal Col­lege to quiz mem­bers on views


Daily Record - - NEWS -

BY AMY-CLARE MARTIN re­[email protected]­ BRI­TISH doc­tors will be asked if they would help a ter­mi­nally ill pa­tient to die and whether the law should be changed to al­low as­sisted dy­ing.

The Royal Col­lege of Physi­cians (RCP) are to poll their 35,000 mem­bers and fel­lows next month.

They will also ask whether mem­bers would be pre­pared to “par­tic­i­pate ac­tively” in as­sisted dy­ing if the law was changed.

News of the poll comes as mo­tor neu­rone dis­ease suf­ferer Noel Con­way said he may be forced to end his life at a Dig­ni­tas sui­cide clinic af­ter the Supreme Court halted his le­gal bid for the right to die. And it fol­lows a poll last year, which showed three in four Brits would sup­port leg­is­la­tion on as­sisted dy­ing to min­imise suf­fer­ing.

RCP pres­i­dent Pro­fes­sor An­drew God­dard said: “We are fre­quently asked for our stance on this high-pro­file is­sue, which may be cited in le­gal cases and par­lia­men­tary de­bate, so it is es­sen­tial we base this on an up-to-date un­der­stand­ing of our mem­bers’ and fel­lows’ views.”

The RCP said they will adopt a neu­tral po­si­tion un­til two-thirds of re­spon­dents say they should be in favour or op­posed to a law change.

As­sisted dy­ing is il­le­gal in Eng­land and Wales, with doc­tors fac­ing a jail term of up to 14 years un­der the Sui­cide Act 1961.

There is no spe­cific pro­hi­bi­tion of as­sist­ing a sui­cide in Scot­tish law but any­one do­ing so could be charged with mur­der or cul­pa­ble homi­cide, the RCP said.

A sim­i­lar sur­vey by the col­lege five years ago found a ma­jor­ity of re­spon­dents did not sup­port a law change.

HAPPY Greg, Jody and Jay­den. Pic: Vic­to­ria Ste­wart

LE­GAL BID Noel Con­way

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