Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Assisted dying

Why neutrality on assisted dying is not an option for doctors’ professional organisations

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 09 July 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e4591
  1. John Saunders, consultant physician1
  1. 1Nevill Hall Hospital, Abergavenny NP7 7EG, UK
  1. saundersjohn{at}

Both the public and politicians reasonably expect medical professional bodies to offer an overall judgment on the desirability of legislation if it affects medical practice or if doctors have special experience of the issue in question. There is nothing different in principle between one issue of public policy and another: NHS reform, smoking, or assisted death.

When a policy is strongly divisive, responsible organisations will consult and publish their …

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