Sarah Wootton, Chief Executive of Dignity in Dying said of the report:
“We are glad the BMA is, for the first time, starting to talk to the public about the issue of assisted dying for the terminally ill, something the vast majority support. We hope that the BMA will listen not just to a handful of focus groups but to the 82% of the British public that support assisted dying for terminally ill people.
“This report confirms what we at Dignity in Dying have long known, which is that both the public and doctors recognise that having the choice of an assisted death would provide comfort and choice to dying people. It is also crystal clear is that many of the concerns raised by the public and doctors could easily be addressed if only the BMA engaged constructively in the debate rather than maintaining their intransigent opposition.”
Professor Ray Tallis of Healthcare Professionals for Assisted Dying (HPAD) said:
“The BMA has a responsibility to listen to patients’ wishes and to take a scientific and evidence-based approach to important matters of public policy. This report is a welcome step towards greater transparency and a willingness to listen but there remain deep concerns about the BMA’s current position on assisted dying. It will be difficult for patients and BMA members to have confidence that the BMA is constructively engaging with the assisted dying debate, given that it continues to oppose assisted dying despite it having never surveyed its membership and in the face of the overwhelming support of 82% of the public.
“The thousands of members of Healthcare Professionals for Assisted Dying (HPAD) have listened to their patients and concluded that it is wrong to deny them choice over their own deaths if they are terminally ill. With hundreds of terminally ill people ending their own lives every year the medical profession can no longer look away from their suffering and ignore their wishes.”
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Dignity in Dying
Dignity in Dying campaigns for greater choice, control and access to services at the end of life. It advocates providing terminally ill adults with the option of an assisted death, within strict legal safeguards, and for universal access to high quality end-of-life care.