GPs oppose assisted suicide, BMA still undecided

26 February 2020

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has voted to maintain its opposition to assisted suicide, following a consultation of its members.

The survey, conducted independently, found that of the 6,674 members that responded, 47% agreed that RCGP should oppose a change in the law on assisted dying.

Of the remainder, 40% supported a change in the law, providing there is sufficient regulatory framework and appropriate safeguarding in place; 11% said the RCGP should take a neutral stance; and 2% of respondents abstained.

Remaining opposed

The RCGP Council has decided that it will not review the College’s position again for at least five years, “unless there are significant developments on the issue.”

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the RCGP commented: “Assisted dying is a controversial topic and this was reflected in the responses to our consultation. However, the highest proportion of respondents said that the College should continue to oppose a change in the law on assisted dying.

“The role of the College now is to ensure that patients receive the best possible palliative and end of life care, and to this end we are working with Marie Curie and others to support this.”

Current laws are sufficient

Dr Gordon Macdonald, chief executive of Care Not Killing, said: “The current laws on assisted suicide and euthanasia exist to protect those who are sick, elderly, depressed or disabled from feeling obliged to end their lives. It protects those who have no voice against exploitation and coercion.

“We are pleased that the Royal College of General Practitioners recognise this and the dog whistle message that singling out the terminally ill and disabled people would send. As Paralympian Tanni Grey-Thompson has said, ‘Legalising assisted suicide will only serve to reinforce deep seated prejudices that the lives of sick and disabled people aren’t worth as much as other people’s.’”

BMA still consulting on assisted suicide

Meanwhile, the British Medical Association (BMA) is continuing to consult all of it members, until Thursday 27 February.

All BMA members should by now have received an email detailing how to vote, however more information is available at

Campaigners for a change in the law have been open that a move to neutrality would not have a neutral effect; rather, it would remove an obstacle towards legalising assisted suicide, indicating that doctors have no qualms over the issue. Care Not Killing has provided a helpful guide as to why doctors should oppose assisted suicide.

‘Hastening death does not deliver’

Paul Huxley, communications manager at Christian Concern, describes the anti-Christian heart of assisted suicide: “As heart-breaking as end-of-life scenarios may be, this is a far cry from the message of the gospel – where Jesus died, so that we may live. We mustn’t let our sympathy for those suffering distract us from protecting the vulnerable.

  • Share

Related articles

All content has been loaded.

Take action

Join our email list to receive the latest updates for prayer and action.

Find out more about the legal support we're giving Christians.

Help us put the hope of Jesus at the heart of society.