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  1. ITV Report

Guernsey doctors group opposes assisted dying

Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Archive/PA Images

An association of doctors in Guernsey has today reiterated its view that it "opposes assisted dying in all its forms".

The Guernsey Branch of the British Medical Association (BMA) has issued a statement on the day that proposals to allow people to end their lives in the island have made national headlines.

Politicians will debate a petition led by Guernsey's Chief Minister in May, which calls on the government to consider legalising assisted dying.

Deputy Gavin St Pier spoke to ITV News today about concerns British residents might take advantage of a change to Guernsey law.

All the regimes that exist around the world, with the exception of Switzerland, do tend to ensure that they're confined to the residents of that jurisdiction and I think that is our starting point - that this is about designing a regime which is appropriate for our own community, rather than creating a 'destination of choice' for residents of the British Isles elsewhere.

– Deputy Gavin St Pier, Guernsey's Chief Minister

The BMA says that, although doctors within the association have a range of views, they are collectively against the practice and instead support current laws, which allow for "compassionate care" for dying patients.

The continued investment and development of the high-quality palliative care services in Guernsey involving all health care professionals – and their focus on “End of life care plans” should be prioritised.

– Guernsey and Alderney division of the British Medical Association

The association also points out that legalising assisted dying could impact the recruitment of doctors, who have to be registered with the General Medical Council - a body which classes the practice as a criminal offence.

The petition calling for a change in law has gained support from well-known charity campaigner Sarah Griffith, who was prompted to call for change after watching her mother "decline in Alzhiemer's".

The proposals will be debated by Guernsey's government in May.