Published: 30th March 2020
'Predictably, the RCP's move to unqualified neutrality was immediately hijacked by assisted dying campaigners, who referred to the RCP 'dropping opposition' to legal change. This interpretation of the RCP's neutral position led directly to similar calls for the British Medical Association to go neutral. This was evidenced by assisted dying campaigner Paul Lamb in his renewed challenge to existing law in May 2019.
'We are very grateful to the College for recognising the confusion that has been sown as a result of its initial decision. We are also grateful to them for clarifying that the RCP "does not support a change in the law to permit assisted dying at the present time".
'Furthermore, the RCP has reiterated that "professional and clinical issues pose significant challenges to the success of any future legislation", that there remain "many shortcomings in the provision of palliative care" and that "the majority of doctors would be unwilling to participate actively in assisted dying if the law were changed to permit it".
'The RCP's very welcome clarification comes shortly after the Royal College of General Practitioners maintained its own opposition to assisted dying in February after a members' poll. In that poll neutrality was again the least favoured option. We very much hope that the British Medical Association will take careful note of both these decisions as it debates its own policy on physician-assisted dying later this year.
'Neutrality of medical organisations has been a key strategy of assisted dying campaigners since 2018, as a stepping stone to law change. We are grateful to the RCP for clarifying its position in the face of such cynical attempts to neutralise the concerns of the 43.4% of its members who voted to oppose legal change.'
Steven Fouch (CMF Head of Communications) 020 7234 9668
Alistair Thompson on 07970 162 225
Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF) was founded in 1949 and is an interdenominational organisation with over 5,000 doctors, 900medical and nursing students and 300 nurses and midwives as members in all branches of medicine, nursing and midwifery. A registered charity, it is linked to over 100 similar bodies in other countries throughout the world.
CMF exists to unite Christian healthcare professionals to pursue the highest ethical standards in Christian and professional life and to increase faith in Christ and acceptance of his ethical teaching.