Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Opposition to assisted dying

RCA clarifies its position

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 02 November 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c6136
  1. Charlie J McLaughlan, director of professional standards1
  1. 1Royal College of Anaesthetists, London WC1R 4SG, UK
  1. cmclaughlan{at}

Counter to the inference in Kmietowicz’s article,1 the Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCA) has debated assisted dying many times and fully considered all aspects of the issue. The royal college also has not “adopted policies against changing the 1961 Suicide Act.”1 It has previously received requests to support amendments to Lord Joffe’s assisted dying bill; but the council maintains that “it is not for a professional body to tell individual clinicians how they should approach the issue of assisted dying” (council minute CID/87/2008).

We at the RCA express our sincere sympathies to Dr Ann McPherson for the extreme health issue she faces. We will continue to encourage fellows and members to contribute to this important debate, but as individuals whose personal views will be respected.


Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c6136


  • Competing interests: None declared.


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