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The waiting game

BMA members make stand against assisted suicide

The BMA has overwhelmingly passed a motion opposing the legalisation of assisted suicide at the annual representatives meeting.

Dr Kailash Chand, a GP in Ashton-under-Lyne, proposed a motion calling for a change in legislation to ‘allow the choice of an assisted death by patients who are terminally ill and who have mental capacity'.

But it was soundly defeated and and the conference also also rejected calls to ‘ensure that those accompanying the patient at an assisted death, but not actively participating, will not be subject to criminal prosecution'

The RCGP is due to publish a policy document on assisted suicide this summer, which is expected to come down against changes in current legislation.

Dr Brian Keighley, deputy chair of BMA Scotland, said: ‘It is clear that doctors do not wish to play a role in assisting a patient's death. Assisting patients to die prematurely is not part of the moral ethos or the primary goal of medicine.

‘If the legislation were to be changed, it would have serious negative consequences on the relationship between doctors and their patients.'

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