Physician-assisted dying: the BGS, the RCP, and the law

David Oliver 2014 - 1David Oliver is the current President of the BGS, a visiting Fellow at the Kings Fund, and a consultant in geriatrics and acute general medicine at the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust.

In the wake of Lord Falconer’s Bill to legalise assisted dying for terminally ill patients in restricted circumstances, the Royal College of Physicians of London recently surveyed its members, asking them a number of questions regarding a possible change in the law.

As the biggest speciality within the college, BGS members were among those who responded. It’s the nature of our work as geriatricians that (alongside palliative care and oncology specialists) we spend a greater proportion of our working lives than most physicians dealing with planning, care and support towards the end of life, and supporting patients and their relatives through the final phase of their illness. So we have a key stake and keen interest in this question.

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