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Dignity in Dying comment on GP’s survey that shows 42% would be willing to help a terminally ill person to die (18 May 2007)

18th May 2007

Survey of GPs shows 42% would be willing to help a terminally ill person to die

A new survey shows that 42% of GPs would be willing to help a terminally ill person to die if assisted dying was legal.

Commenting on the results of Pulse magazine’s survey of GPs, Deborah Annetts, Dignity in Dying Chief Executive, said;

“This survey clearly shows what Dignity in Dying has long said: that doctors hold a range of views on assisted dying, and that many support a change in the law. Pulse magazine’s survey demonstrates that GPs are in touch with the views of the vast majority of their patients: 80% of the public believe that a terminally ill person should have the option of an assisted death.

Given the range of views held by doctors on this issue, it is a shame that the organisations that are supposed to represent them are failing to do so, and on an issue of such great importance to the public. A survey by GFK Healthcare last year found that 60% of GPs supported the BMA’s position of neutrality on assisted dying, which has since reverted to opposition. This survey by Pulse is yet another signal that the medical associations are out of step with doctors and the public.”

Notes for editors

1. Pulse magazine survey coverage can be found at: http://www.pulse-i.co.uk/ and Pulse, 17 May 2007, page 4 (Issue 19, Volume 67).

2. The GFK survey was commissioned by Dignity in Dying in June 2006. Results can be found at: http://www.dignityindying.org.uk/news/news.asp?id=203.

3. The British Medical Association moved to a position on neutrality on assisted dying at its 2005 AGM, and then reverted to opposition to assisted dying at its 2006 AGM. The BMA’s position on assisted dying is outlined here: http://www.bma.org.uk/ap.nsf/AttachmentsByTitle/PDFEndoflifedecisions/$FILE/EndofLifeDecisions.pdf.