Manchester GP Dr Kailash Chand, who proposed the motion to the ARM in Liverpool yesterday, said that ‘if the law as written were applied, over 100 people would have been prosecuted for helping their loved ones to die’.
The current arrangements penalise poorer patients because the wealthy can afford to travel to overseas clinics, he said.
He called for the law to be changed so that terminally ill, mentally competent adults have the choice to die.
But Baroness Ilora Finlay, a professor of palliative medicine, said that current laws have a ‘kind heart and a hard head’.
‘Not all assisted suicides is the termination of a life long, loving relationship,’ she said, to loud applause.
The motion was voted down by 53%, with 45% in favour.
The ARM also voted (down) a motion expressing ‘concern’ that GMC guidance suggests doctors could be disciplined for discussing spiritual matters with patients.
It also rejected a third, which would have criticised advertising abortion services on television.
It also voted down a measure that would have pledged that relatives should not be prosecuted for helping with assisted suicide.
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