The Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF) has welcomed today's decision by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) to continue to oppose assisted dying (assisted suicide and euthanasia).
CMF's CEO, Dr Mark Pickering, commented: "Those campaigning for a change in the law have pushed hard for the RCGP to go neutral, so they could have presented this to Parliament and the public as 'doctors dropping their opposition'. Despite variations of views amongst GPs, the clear main view is that of opposition to law change. Many doctors recognise the dangers of changing laws designed to protect terminally ill and disabled people from feeling pressure, real or perceived, to end their lives.
"Legalising assisted suicide or euthanasia would fundamentally alter the doctor-patient relationship. Recent Canadian experience has shown how the medical culture can shift rapidly once laws change, leading to pressure on doctors who have conscientious objections. Canadian law is already extending further after only three years, removing initial references to terminal illness and demonstrating rapid incremental extension that should give great concern in the UK.
"It's no wonder that just last year the World Medical Association (WMA), at its 70th General Assembly, reiterated its firm opposition to euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.
"The current laws protecting vulnerable people represent a natural boundary and do not need changing. Instead we need to refocus our attention on providing the very best palliative care to all who need it, and ending the current postcode lottery on palliative care."
The Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF) was founded seventy years ago and is an interdenominational organisation with over 6,000 members in all specialities. A registered charity, it is linked to about 80 similar bodies in other countries throughout the world.
If you are affected by any details in this report, and would like to talk to someone, the Samaritans are available 24 hours a day see: www.samaritans.org/
Christian Medical Fellowship - www.cmf.org.uk/
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