Intended for healthcare professionals


BMA should drop its opposition to assisting dying, say members in landmark poll

BMJ 2020; 371 doi: (Published 09 October 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;371:m3936
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. London

The BMA should drop its stance against changing the law on assisting dying, say a majority of members voting in an historic poll.

The poll, the first ever by the BMA on its members’ views on assisted dying, found that a third (33%) of those responding supported its current position of opposing a change in the law to allow physician assisted death or physician assisted suicide (table 1). Forty per cent of respondents said the BMA should support a law change that would permit doctors to prescribe drugs to eligible patients for self-administration to bring on death, 21% said it should take a neutral stance, and 6% were undecided.

View this table:
Table 1

Should the BMA support a change in the law to permit doctors to prescribe drugs for eligible patients to self-administer to end their own life?

John Chisholm, chair of the BMA’s medical ethics committee, emphasised that the results would not automatically change BMA policy to oppose assisted dying in all its forms. “That will only change should …

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