Legal challenge made to a poll on assisted dying

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The RCP asked its members where they stand on assisted dying but for the first time said they would adopt a neutral stance unless there was a 60% majority either way. 

Until now, the group have been officially opposed. 

Four doctors have now launched a crowdfunding page to fund a legal challenge to the poll, saying a small minority within the College who do support assisted dying are trying to change the RCP’s default position in an unfair way and that: “it means that even if 59% of members vote to maintain opposition to a change in the law, the College will change to a neutral position anyway.”

Dr Dermot Kearney MRCP, a consultant cardiologist; Dr Kathy Myers FRCP, a retired consultant in palliative medicine; Dr Adrian Treloar FRCP, a consultant old age psychiatrist and Dr David Randall MRCP, a registrar in renal medicine argue: “Using a supra-majority to change a policy is, as far as we are aware, entirely without precedent in matters of this kind.

“Such mechanisms are usually used to prevent long-term constitutional changes being implemented by small but temporary majorities, and thus they should always default to the status quo – in this case opposition to legal change.”

The doctors believe Dignity in Dying, the campaign group for assisted dying, have influenced the move. A recent blog on the Dignity in Dying website by Dr David Nicholl states: “I think it…

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