Intended for healthcare professionals


Guidance on assisted suicide is confusing and risky, Warnock tells commission

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 24 January 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d464
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

The current law on assisted suicide could lead to a “botched” death and must be changed, the philosopher and independent peer Mary Warnock told the Commission on Assisted Dying in central London last week.

Baroness Warnock said that guidelines issued by the director of public prosecutions for England and Wales, Keir Starmer, were “particularly bad” and created confusion and uncertainty. She was giving evidence to the unofficial commission chaired by the former Labour lord chancellor Charles Falconer.

She argued that only medical professionals and not lay people should assist in a suicide.

Assisting a suicide remains a serious crime in England and Wales, punishable by up to 14 …

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