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Views And Reviews

We risk our careers if we discuss assisted dying, say UK palliative care consultants

BMJ 2019; 365 doi: (Published 02 April 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;365:l1494

Five anonymous palliative care doctors say that, although views diverge among specialists, palliative medicine’s professional association is stifling free speech on assisted dying

We are five consultants; between us we have 94 years of consultant level experience in palliative medicine. We share concerns about the way that our specialty’s medical colleges represent assisted dying in the media, including in this journal.

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP), after a recent survey of its members and fellows, adopted a neutral position on assisted dying. Since the survey was announced, there has been an outpouring of strong opinions in the media from the officers and members of the Association for Palliative Medicine (APM).12 Most criticised the RCP for not following the APM’s absolute opposition to a change in UK law to allow some forms of assisted dying. Fortunately, The BMJ has restored some balance by publishing articles from Canadian physicians who have experience of providing assisted dying. …

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