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New survey shows two thirds of nurses support assisted dying

A new Independent Nurse survey, out today, shows that two-thirds of nurses support the legalisation of assisted dying. Of those who responded to the survey, 64 per cent said they thought assisted dying should be legal, and 67 per cent said that they thought that clinicians should be able to assist terminally ill patients who wish to end their lives if they are in chronic pain. Of those surveyed, 46% said they would be willing to help terminally ill patients to end their lives if the law was changed to allow it.

Davina Hehir, Head of Policy and Legal Strategy at Dignity in Dying said:

“The results of this survey are very encouraging, although not surprising as other polls have shown high levels of support among nurses for assisted dying legislation. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is currently consulting on this area in order to inform its position on assisted dying and reflect the views of its members, and I believe that the findings from its extensive consultation will reflect those of the Independent Nurse survey.

“The survey also showed that a small proportion of nurses who are in favour of assisted dying would not want to be part of the process. It is very important to note that a health professional would have the choice to opt out under any future assisted dying legislation.”


Notes to editor

About 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.

· Dignity in Dying has over 100,000 supporters and receives its funding entirely from donations from the public.

· Opinion polls consistently show that at least 80% of the UK population support a change in the law on assisted dying.

Nurse opinion:

· A poll by the Nursing Times in 2003 found 66% of nurses believed that assisted dying should be legalised.

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