Doctors to be polled on assisted dying
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 is to poll its 35,000 members and fellows next month on whether or not there should be a change in the law to permit assisted dying.
It will also ask whether its members would be prepared to “participate actively” in assisted dying if the law was changed.
RCP president Professor Andrew Goddard said the survey, which will be emailed out next month, was essential to the college understanding its members’ views.
He added: “The Royal College of Physicians is frequently asked for its stance on this high-profile issue, which may be cited in legal cases and parliamentary debate, so it is essential that we base this on an up-to-date understanding of our members’ and fellows’ views.”
The RCP said it will adopt a neutral position until two-thirds of respondents say that it should be in favour or opposed to a change in the law.
It said this means it will neither support or oppose a change in the law in discussions with government and others.
Assisted dying is illegal in UK, 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.