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BMA Annual Representative Meeting vote against taking a neutral position on assisted dying

The BMA’s annual conference today voted against a motion to adopt a position of studied neutrality on a change in the law on assisted dying. This is despite a recent edition of the British Medical Journal calling for a policy shift.

Sarah Wootton, Chief Executive of Dignity in Dying said:

“The BMA’s current position of opposition to a change in the law on assisted dying is out of date and fails to address a real and present problem. A principled objection to a change in the law does not prevent dying Britons travelling abroad to die, neither does it prevent people taking matters into their own hands at home with the help of loved ones. BMA members hold a variety of views on the issue, and that should be reflected in a position of studied neutrality. The BMA’s current stance prevents it from engaging in a detailed analysis of the safeguards and criteria proposed. At present it is simply walking away from constructive debate.

“We call on the BMA to consult all of its members, like its counterpart the Royal College of Nursing, on this important issue. Until then the BMA does not speak with a collective voice on behalf of its members.”


Notes to editor:

About Dignity in Dying:

  • Dignity in Dying campaigns for greater choice, control and access to services at the end of life. It advocates providing terminally ill adults with the option of an assisted death, within strict legal safeguards, and for universal access to high quality end-of-life care.
  • Dignity in Dying has over 20,000 supporters and receives its funding entirely from donations from the public.