The new deputy chairman of the British Medical Association has been revealed as a strong supporter of euthanasia and assisted suicide.
Only this week the BMA President warned of the risks of allowing assisted suicide.
But Dr Kailash Chand, who was elected as the deputy chair of the BMA last week, said in August this year: “We must enact legislation to decriminalise acts of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide”.
Dr Chand is also a member of Health Professionals for Assisted Suicide and in 2009 backed a motion at the BMA’s annual meeting pushing for “assisted death”.
Dr Peter Saunders, the CEO of Christian Medical Fellowship, commented Dr Chand had said in 2009 that “he was determined to move the position of the BMA and would be trying again”.
Dr Saunders noted that the BMA “has never supported the legalisation of either euthanasia or assisted suicide throughout its 180 year history” and “I for one will be watching Dr Kailash Chand very carefully indeed.”
In a blog on the British Medical Journal website dated 20 August 2012, Dr Chand wrote: “I, like many in the profession, would like to see the law on assisted suicide amended to allow doctors to provide the choice of an assisted death only to those who are terminally ill, mentally competent, and who have expressed ‘a clear and settled wish to die’.”
He also claimed there were “compelling” reasons to bring in assisted suicide and euthanasia.
The deputy chairman of the BMA is elected each year and is voted for by the organisation’s ruling council.
Earlier this week the President of the BMA, Baroness Hollins, commented on end-of-life laws in light of comments from a junior health minister personally backing assisted suicide.
Baroness Hollins said: “The risks of changing the law could put so many vulnerable people at risk, it’s just not something we should contemplate.
“To change the law would be to change the boundary between life and death altogether.”