The Royal College of Nursing has abandoned its position of opposition to assisted suicide, following consultation with its members.
The RCN has now adopted a position of neutrality on the issue, neither supporting peoples’ right to take their own lives, nor opposing it.
Following calls from members during the consultation, the college will issue guidance to nurses on the legal, ethical, regulatory and clinical issues involved in assisted suicide.
RCN general secretary Peter Carter said the complexity of the issue was reflected in the responses the college received to its consultation.
‘The split in responses shows that there is no overwhelming support among nurses for either opposing or supporting a change in the law on assisted suicide,’ he said.
‘We fully support the common themes that came through the consultation, namely maintaining the nurse-patient relationship, protecting vulnerable patients and making sure there is adequate investment in end of life care.’
Should the UK allow assisted suicide?