The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) moved to a neutral position on assisted suicide following an extensive and detailed consultation process today. This means that the RCN moves from opposing assisted dying to a position where the College neither supports nor opposes a change in the law to allow assisted dying in the UK.
The Council have announced that detailed guidance for nurses on the issue will now be commissioned.
Sarah Wootton, Chief Executive of Dignity in Dying, said:
“Dignity in Dying is pleased that the RCN has given this important issue such consideration. The assisted dying debate is contentious, but it will not go away as long as people have to suffer unnecessarily against their wishes at the end of life. We believe the RCN’s decision is very sensible given the overwhelming public support for a change in the law.
“We hope that other Royal Colleges and the BMA will also consult their members on this issue and take a balanced policy position. The BMA recently discussed this issue at their annual conference. A motion in support of a change in the law was defeated by 52.6 per cent to 44.4 per cent. Given how close this vote was, we believe that there is now scope for a full consultation of the BMA members in order to inform their policy position.”