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Most UK doctors support assisted dying, a new poll shows: the BMA’s opposition does not represent members

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k301 (Published 07 February 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k301

Re: Most UK doctors support assisted dying, a new poll shows: the BMA’s opposition does not represent members

Dear Editor,

The poll referred to in this article demonstrates the problems with polls. They can be used by one side or the other. The point is there is great division between doctors on this question and the arguments are around the balance of individual rights against collective rights. Every time this argument has been thoroughly debated, looking at this very balance, the arguments against euthanasia have trumped those for because at the end of the day there is far more to be lost by society as a whole - in terms of the creep in subtle utilitarian attitudes, the massive shift in the role of a doctor and the excess lives lost due to these factors over and above the life being deliberately removed.

There is a wealth of evidence to support the certainty of these outcomes. Emotional responses are important. I hear and respond to them every day as a GP, but they do not make sound policy for society which has to protect ALL its citizens. Any shift in this policy breaks a code that has protected the most vulnerable in our society for thousands of years.

Naomi Beer

Competing interests: No competing interests

13 February 2018
Naomi Beer
GP
NHS GP practice
GP Tower Hamlets