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Most doctors support assisted dying for the terminally ill – survey

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MORE than 60% of the Island’s doctors would be in favour of assisted dying for terminally ill patients, according to a survey.

Michael Talibard

However, the research, commissioned by End of Life Choices Jersey, also found that only 45% would take the same view for someone suffering an illness that caused unbearable suffering but was not terminal.

Last month another survey, also ordered by the organisation, of 1,420 Islanders, indicated strong support for assisted dying.

And following a debate at the Arts Centre last week, 165 of the attendees voted in favour of introducing assisted dying legislation in Jersey, while 55 were against the move.

Michael Talibard, of End of Life Choices Jersey, said that the doctors’ poll indicated further support for introducing assisted dying laws in the Island.

‘Comparing the two surveys, the proportion of doctors in favour is somewhat below that of the general public, but it is still a clear majority,’ he said.

‘For patients with a terminal illness, 60% of our doctors felt that assistance to die was sometimes or always acceptable, and that they would be willing to render that assistance, given professional and legal protection.

‘Surprisingly, in cases where the illness causes unbearable suffering but is not terminal, that figure falls to 45%. Of course, there is also a substantial minority of doctors who would never so assist.

‘There are different ways of summing it all up but in broad terms, the poll gives strong further support to the campaign for end-of-life choices in Jersey.’

Ian Heath

By Ian Heath
author

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