Observations End of Life Care

Our professional bodies should stop opposing assisted dying

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e4115 (Published 13 June 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e4115
  1. Raymond Tallis, emeritus professor of geriatric medicine, University of Manchester and chair, Healthcare Professionals for Assisted Dying
  1. raymond{at}rtallis.wanadoo.co.uk

The BMA and some royal colleges are publicly opposed to legislation to permit assisted dying for terminally ill mentally competent adults (box). It is not the place here to rehearse what we, as members of Healthcare Professionals for Assisted Dying (HPAD), believe is the powerful case for such legislation, but rather to argue that the proper stance of our professional bodies should be one of neutrality.1 HPAD was founded by Ann McPherson and her friend Professor Joe Collier in 2010 to challenge the stance of the medical establishment.

Medical bodies’ stances on assisted dying

Opposed
  • BMA

  • Royal College of Physicians of London

  • Royal College of Surgeons of England

  • Royal College of General Practitioners

  • Association of Palliative Medicine

No position
  • General Medical Council

  • Royal College of Anaesthetists

  • Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

  • Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

  • Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh

  • Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh

Neutral
  • Royal Society of Medicine

  • Royal College of Nursing

  • Royal College of Nursing Scotland

  • Royal College of Psychiatrists

At the heart of the …

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