Royal College of Physicians to poll its members on assisted dying

By agency reporter
January 16, 2019

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) is to poll its 35,000 members and fellows next month on whether or not there should be a change in the law to permit assisted dying.

Five-years ago, a similar survey found that a majority of respondents did not support a change in the law. Asked whether, regardless of their support or opposition to change, they would personally be prepared to ‘participate actively’ in assisted dying were it legalised, 58.4 per cent said no. These results were similar to those from a 2006 RCP poll.

There was no majority in 2014 on the question of what the RCP position should be. Some 44.4 per cent of respondents thought the RCP should be opposed to assisted dying, 31 per cent thought it should be neutral or have no stance and 24.6 per cent opted for the RCP being in favour.

Professor Andrew Goddard, RCP president, said: "The Royal College of Physicians is frequently asked for its stance on this high profile issue, which may be cited in legal cases and parliamentary debate, so it is essential that we base this on an up-to-date understanding of our members’ and fellows’ views."

Following this new poll, the RCP will adopt a neutral position until two-thirds of respondents say that it should be in favour of or opposed to a change in the law. ‘Neutral’ means the RCP neither supports nor opposes a change in the law and can reflect the differing views of its members and fellows in discussions with government and others.

The poll will be conducted by email and the results will be released in March.

* The Royal College of Physicians


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