Updated on 27 March 2019

Last week the RCP announced the results of the assisted dying survey. The RCP has now adopted a neutral position on the question of whether there should be a change in the law to permit assisted dying. Neutral means the RCP neither supports nor opposes a change in the law.

Gastroenterologists might be interested to see the survey results by question for our specialty. There was an overall 29% response rate to the survey itself, compared with 31% in 2014. Gastroenterologists comprised the 4th largest group of respondents, behind Geriatricians, Palliative Care and Respiratory Physicians. Gastro results mirrored the overall survey results.

What should the RCP’s position be on whether or not there should be a change in the law to permit assisted dying?

In favour Gastro 32.4%  Overall 31.6%
Opposed      Gastro 43.4%  Overall 43.4%
Neutral Gastro 24.2% Overall 25.0%

Do you support a change in the law to permit assisted dying?

Yes Gastro 38.3%  Overall 40.5%
No Gastro 49.3% Overall 49.1%
Undecided Gastro 12.4% Overall 10.4%


 Regardless of your support or opposition to change, if the law was changed to permit assisted dying, would you be prepared to participate actively?

Yes Gastro 22.7% Overall 24.6%
No Gastro    56%     Overall 55.1%
Don't Know Gastro 21.3%  Overall 20.3%


Initial message on assisted dying

Updated on 8 February 2019


Last week (w/c 4th February) RCP London and the Royal College of Radiologists will survey members and fellows on their opinions concerning assisted dying. The rationale for this is set out on the RCP website.

The survey is short and records the opinions of individuals anonymously. It will be possible to analyse the results according to specialty, which may explain some of the variation in stance taken by individuals.

Assisted dying is a societal issue, which speaks to our fundamental belief systems as well as our personal and professional ethics. The BSG has never surveyed its members directly on this challenging area and takes no position on the issue as a membership society. I would however, strongly encourage those members of the BSG who are RCP or RCR Fellows to make their views known ( even if their view is that they are undecided) so that the individual opinions of a large number of Gastroenterologists and Hepatologists are accurately recorded.

UK fellows and members of the RCP will have by now, received an email asking them to respond to this survey on assisted dying. The College plans to close the survey at the end of February, but also wants to make sure they have a similar return as in 2014, when over 6,500 people responded. The outcome will be discussed at RCP Council on 21 March, and they will publish the results shortly after.

I have completed my response today.

Kind Regards


Dr Cathryn Edwards President


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