RCN fellow condemns its assisted suicide stance

A crossbench peer and Royal College of Nursing fellow has condemned the RCN's new assisted suicide stance in an opinion piece for The Times.

Earlier this week Healthcare Republic reported that the RCN had ended its opposition to assisted suicide and moved to a neutral position.

Baroness Emerton writes: ‘I am astonished... that the RCN has decided to move from a position of opposing assisted suicide to one of neutrality.

‘It seems to involve some potentially dangerous thinking.

‘To base a serious shift in the College's stance on the opinions of 0.3% of the membership is nothing short of irresponsible. It is reminiscent of some of the worst features of bad trade union activity in the 1960s and 1970s.

‘The general secretary of the College has been quoted as saying that the change in stance from opposition to neutrality will enable nurses ‘to engage in dialogue' with their patients on assisted suicide.

‘Encouraging or assisting suicides is a criminal offence in this country.'

The RCN maintains that its consultation process was detailed and thorough. It says it is absolutely not telling nurses to speak to patients about assisted suicide - doing so is unlawful.


  • Do you agree with Baroness Emerton?

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