Royal College refuses to drop opposition to assisted dying

February 21, 2020

Humanist Society Scotland has responded with disappointment that the Royal College of GPs has ignored the view of its members who responded to a recent consultation on changing the group’s stance on Assisted Dying.

51% of those GPs who responded to the consultation favoured either having a favourable stance (40%) or a neutral stance (11%) on the issue. 47% said the college should oppose a change in the law and 2% abstained. A total of 6,674 GP members had their say in the online survey, a turnout of just under 14% of eligible members.

However, the result does show a marked changed in opinion since the college last consulted on this issue in 2013 when 77% of GPs said the opposed assisted dying and only 5% in favour.

Responding to the result, Chief Executive of Humanist Society Scotland, Fraser Sutherland, said:

With an overwhelming majority of the public supporting the introduction of assisted dying laws in Scotland many will be bewildered by the RCGP’s announcement. Given over half the members who they consulted said they supported a change to the College’s position – it is outstandingly arrogant for the leadership to ignore this prevailing view and makes a mockery of their legitimacy as a representative body.

Once again the status quo of a legal system that leaves vulnerable people in pain and suffering at the end of their life is propped up as an acceptable solution. People at the end of their life need to be listened to and have their choices respected. This result will be devastating for many families who continue to fight for their loved one’s last rights but who are continuingly ignored.

Fraser Sutherland, Humanist Society Scotland

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