The RCGP survey results showed that opposition to a change in the law was the most favoured option chosen by 47% of those surveyed.
This maintained the position of opposition to assisted suicide after a consultation in 2013 had the same finding.
Following a consultation with its membership in 2019, the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) adopted a position of neutrality on assisted suicide.
However, the process leading to this decision required a 60% supermajority to retain the RCP’s previous position of opposition and was therefore subject to threatened legal action. The RCP clarified in 2020 that it does not support a change in the law.
The results of the BMA survey in Feb 2020 reveal a change in the views of doctors over time. 40% of respondents indicated support for a change in the BMA position to allow doctor-assisted suicide. 40% of respondents opposed a change in the BMA position on administering drugs to end life or physician administered euthanasia.
It should be noted that just over half doctors are BMA members and only 19% of invitations provided useable responses.
The current BMA position is to be opposed to assisted dying in all its forms. This will be debated at its Annual Representatives Meeting in September 2021, and the results of the poll will inform, but not determine the outcome.
oppose a change in the BMA position to allow doctor-assisted suicide
thought that the BMA should support the legalisation of physician administered euthanasia