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Dignity in Dying welcomes publication of systematic review on UK Doctors’ views on assisted dying

A review of surveys by academics at the Department of Palliative Medicine, Milford Care Centre, Ireland has underlined that a majority of UK doctors are opposed to ‘euthanasia or assisted suicide’. Commenting, Davina Hehir, Dignity in Dying’s Director of Policy and Legal Strategy, said:

“This report confirms that many doctors’ views on assisted dying are out of kilter with those of the general public. Dignity in Dying is working hard with doctors and other healthcare professionals to inform and educate on the issues surrounding greater choice at the end-of-life. With this in mind, we support the report’s call for further research; not only on the extent to which religiosity affects doctor’s views; but also as to whether doctors distinguish between assisted dying for terminally ill adults and assisted suicide for non-dying adults. Other considerations are the safeguards that doctors would want included in any future legislation, and doctors’ views on the difference between existing practice that legally allows them to hasten a patient’s death and regulated assisted dying.

“The option for doctors to conscientiously object to assisted dying is fundamental to future legislation. We believe that a safe assisted dying law where patients have the choice of an assisted death, and doctors have the choice to opt out of being involved, is achievable. However, doctors who do not want assisted dying to be legalised should not stand in the way of terminally ill, mentally competent adults having that choice.”