Medical Assistance in Dying

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View the RACP’s work on good end of life care

Draft Position Statement on Medical Assistance in Dying

Following careful consideration of the feedback received from online and face to face consultation with the membership in 2017, the College’s working party has developed a draft position statement on medical assistance in dying (PDF 520KB).

The statement attempts to make a contribution to the current discussion on medical assistance in dying based on the expertise of our members and acknowledging the diversity of opinion across the membership.

Comments on the draft statement are welcome to by ​11 May 2018


In 2017, the RACP undertook a program of consultation with its membership on medical assistance in dying.

The College’s Working Party on this topic hosted a consultation session at RACP Congress 2017 and its members have been attending College committee and specialty society meetings. In addition to the verbal feedback received at these meetings, the Working Party has carefully considered the 94 written submissions from Fellows, trainees, College bodies and specialty societies. 

A series of deliberative forums were also held in November in Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland. These forums were open to Fellows and Trainees and enabled attendees to engage on the topic of medical assistance in dying with colleagues from varying specialties in a series of interesting and informative sessions.

The deliberative forums were led by members of the College’s Working Party and an independent engagement expert from Woolcott Research and Engagement.

To enable all members to engage in this important discussion, an online forum was opened to all members until late December.

The anonymous feedback and views expressed through the above activities will be included in a consultation report and will be considered by the College’s Working Party as it revises the discussion paper and prepares a draft position statement.

Discussion paper

To support the above consultation activities and facilitate feedback from Fellows and trainees, the College's Working Party developed a discussion paper on Medical Assistance in Dying (member login required).

The paper engages with ethical issues and the evidence and covers terminology, historic framing of the issues, data from legalised jurisdictions, the socio-cultural context, issues raised from clinical experience, common ground principles for physicians, and practical impacts. The paper is not in itself intended to be a statement either for, or against, medical assistance in dying, rather its purpose is to help Fellows and trainees provide feedback as the RACP develops its approach.  

Why is Medical Assistance in Dying a priority topic for the RACP?

In recent years, a number of proposals to legalise medical assistance in dying have been considered by Parliaments in Australia and New Zealand. 

RACP Policy and Advocacy Council has established the Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Death Working Party to develop a College position on these issues that is informed by consultation with Fellows and trainees, and that will offer a meaningful and contemporary contribution to policy debate.
The Working Party comprises physicians with a broad range of clinical and cultural expertise, and encompasses diverse ethical viewpoints.

Recent submissions:

How can I contribute my expertise?

RACP Fellows and trainees need to see Represent Your Profession or email or use the online contact form.

Where can I read more?

Read published RACP policies, position statements or submissions by searching the Policy and Advocacy Library

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