Senior doctors have launched a bid to legally challenge the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) over its controversial assisted suicide poll.
The survey, which closed at the beginning of March, asked doctors whether the RCP should change its current position and whether they individually supported a change.
In a 2014 RCP poll, 57.5 per cent said the College should remain opposed to assisted suicide. However, it has now decided to be ‘neutral’ on the issue unless 60 per cent of respondents say otherwise.
Responding to the move, two consultants, a registrar and a retired consultant in palliative care say they want to start Judicial Review proceedings against the RCP.
They warn campaigners for assisted suicide are targeting the College as part of their wider efforts to weaken the law.
“If the College adopts a position of neutrality, a key voice representing doctors’ legitimate opposition to assisted suicide will have been silenced”, they said.
“We have been advised that there are good legal grounds on which to challenge the College’s handling of the poll, including a breach of legitimate expectation, unfairness and irrationality”, the medics added.
For more information and to make a donation to support the legal challenge go to www.gofundme.com/rcp-poll-challenge.
… a key voice representing doctors’ legitimate opposition to assisted suicide will have been silenced.
Crossbench peer and Paralympic gold medallist Tanni Grey-Thompson recently hit out at the survey, saying it risks bringing the RCP into disrepute.
She said: “Only a small minority of members want to see an assisted suicide law.
“They know there is no chance of the college supporting their project but neutrality is, for them, the next best thing because it suggests (misleadingly) that there is a shift in medical opinion.”