The Royal College of General Practitioners, as announced earlier this year, has commenced its consultation of members and fellows - GPs - concerning its stance on assisted suicide. The College's long-standing opposition was last affirmed in 2014 when 77% of individual respondents backed opposition. Read why GPs, whose profession would be expected to authorise and facilitate patients' suicides if assisted suicide was legalised, should reject 'neutrality' and remain opposed.

How can you get involved?

  • If you are a member or fellow, please be sure to respond to the consultation, calling on your College to maintain opposition which protects patients and doctors
  • If you know any members or fellows of the RCGP, or if you have cause to speak with your own GP, share your concerns about legalisation, ask if they understand the effect neutrality would have, and ask them to respond to the consultation, backing continued opposition

The RCGP consultation follows the highly controversial poll conducted by the Royal College of Physicians earlier this year. The College, having required a supermajority of 60% to remain opposed to assisted suicide, adopted neutrality despite that being the least-favoured option. Three doctors who pursued legal action against the College have recently secured permission to challenge the outcome in court.

In other news:

At its 70th General Assembly in Tbilisi, Georgia, the World Medical Association (WMA), an international organisation representing physicians through 114 national medical associations including the British Medical Association, reiterated 'its strong commitment to the principles of medical ethics and that utmost respect has to be maintained for human life. Therefore, the WMA is firmly opposed to euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.'

A major new report from the US National Council on Disability (NCD), entitled 'Assisted Suicide Laws and their Danger to People with Disabilities', has concluded 'that the dangers and harms that NCD identified in 1997 and 2005 are at least as significant today.' The NCD notes that its concerns:

'stem from the understanding that if assisted suicide is legal, some people's lives, particularly those of people with disabilities, will be ended without their fully informed and free consent, through mistakes, abuse, insufficient knowledge, and the unjust lack of better options. No safeguards have ever been enacted or proposed that can prevent this outcome.'

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