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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: (Published 07 February 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k301

This article has a correction. Please see:

  1. Jacky Davis, consultant radiologist, member, chair123
  1. 1Whittington Hospital, London, UK
  2. 2BMA Council
  3. 3Healthcare Professionals for Assisted Dying
  1. drjcdavis{at}

A survey on has found majority support for legal assisted dying, writes Jacky Davis, arguing that the BMA should move to a neutral position or survey its membership

Last year, the consultant neurologist David Nicholl wrote in The BMJ about the change in his views on assisted dying.1 He explained that he had moved from being “utterly opposed” to being an ardent supporter after the assisted death of a close friend in Belgium. He argued that patients with a terminal illness should be allowed “a death with dignity on their own terms” and wondered why the views of the UK medical profession on the subject were reportedly so out of step with those of their patients, 82% of whom support legislation for assisted dying.2

The BMA has long been opposed to assisted dying, and its view is often quoted in parliamentary debate as representing that of doctors.3 BMA policy is made at its annual representatives meeting (ARM), where delegates vote after listening to debates. Thus BMA policy is the result of a debate attended by around 400 delegates. Nicholl thought that doctors’ …

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