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News

RCGP to consult members on assisted dying

RCGP (The Royal College Of General Practitioners) : 23 May, 2013  (Company News)
The RCGP is consulting members on the College's collective position on a change in the law on assisted dying.


The College's position on assisted dying since 2005 has been that, with good palliative care, a change in legislation is not required. However, many clinicians and patients feel strongly about this complex and emotive subject, and high profile cases such as Paul Lamb and Tony Nicklinson have brought it to the forefront once again.



As the largest membership organisation in the UK solely for GPs, with over 46,000 members, the RCGP is the most representative voice in the UK for GPs. The College believes that the time is now right to review the practical and ethical issues involved and to give its members the opportunity to debate what the RCGP's collective position should be.



The membership consultation will consider whether the College should adopt a position of support, opposition or neutrality on a change in the law - and the potential implications of each of these positions.



The College has taken the decision to run the consultation for a number of reasons. The College recognises that there are compelling arguments on both sides of the debate and that some members' views may have changed over the past eight years. The College has also welcomed many new members since 2005 and it is important that their views are taken into account.



The GP-patient relationship, with GPs often attending patients in the final days and hours of their lives, puts GPs in a unique position to offer insights into the arguments for and against a change in the law on this profoundly important issue and the College anticipates that the outcome of the consultation on assisted dying will be viewed as significant.



The consultation will run until 9 October 2013, with a debate by the RCGP's governing Council  expected in early 2014.


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