Doctors reject assisted suicides

Doctors have rejected calls to take a neutral stance on assisted suicide.

Delegates to the British Medical Association's annual conference in Bournemouth yesterday restated their opposition to assisted dying, with one doctor likening it to murder.

They decided that a change in their position would send the wrong message.

The Healthcare Professionals for Assisted Dying (HPAD) had called for the BMA to move its position from opposition to "studied" neutrality. HPAD's chairman, Professor Raymond Tallis, said assisted dying should be a matter for society as a whole and not just the medical profession. He called on the BMA to adopt a neutral position on a change in the law.

But Dr Dai Samuel, rejecting the call, said: "We must question what as doctors we stand for.

"I simply stand for looking after my patients and providing high-quality care. I do not consider the killing of patients, whatever the reason, is justified. That is murder and I cannot commit that offence."

Dr Peter Saunders, of the campaign group Care Not Killing, said: "This vote is a victory for common sense. We hope the BMA will now continue its valuable work in campaigning for high-quality, compassionate care for patients at the end of life."