Intended for healthcare professionals

Editor's Choice

Assisted dying: the debate continues

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 07 February 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l576

Re: Assisted dying: the debate continues

Dear Drs Mowat and Chisholm [1]

I have been a BMA member for almost 25 years, and I have never been asked by my regional representative / or the national body? my opinion on the matter of Assisted Dying.

When Representatives stand for election, I have yet to come across a ‘manifesto’ that states the candidates stand on Assisted Dying.

I suspect this true for the majority of the BMA membership

It was therefore with disappointment that I read the recent piece in the BMJ that the BMA’s opposition to Assisted Dying

While the policy may appear to be a ‘deliberative and democratic process’ technically, I think you will agree that, the ARM falls far from the standard of being able to truly reflect the views of the BMA membership, given the above caveats.

In the piece you said, unless you hear otherwise, the focus will be on opposing a shift in position

I am therefore writing as a member to ask for an open debate and poll of the BMA membership on this matter.

I would be satisfied by a simple Yes/No poll asking the BMA membership if they would like a poll akin to the RCP on Assisted Dying.

We have as BMA members been polled on more complex matters. And I think the membership is sophisticated and intelligent enough to decide whether it would like to have an RCP like poll or not on this important issue.

I would be grateful for your consideration of this request from a long standing member

Yours sincerely

Dr Roshan Agarwal FRCP PhD
Consultant Medical Oncologist
Visiting Professor of Cancer Studies

1 Mowat A, Chisholm J. Assisted dying: why the BMA does not poll members on nuanced ethical questions. BMJ 2019;364:l593. doi: (Published 06 February 2019)

Competing interests: No competing interests

09 February 2019
Roshan Agarwal
Consultant Medical Oncologist
Northampton, UK