Medical professionals open letter urges against allowing assisted dying in Jersey

stethoscope hanging up
Sixty-five doctors have signed an open letter to the island's Health Minister warning that the proposals represent a "seismic legal, ethical and moral change". Credit: PA Images

More than sixty medical professionals in Jersey say they will not participate in allowing assisted dying if it becomes legal in the island.

Sixty-five doctors, consultants, psychiatrists, nurses and other healthcare staff have signed an open letter to the island's Health Minister warning that the proposals represent a "seismic legal, ethical and moral change".

Their concerns include:

  • Fears that no formal procedures are in place for regulating providers of assisted dying in Jersey, as the Jersey Care commission is not yet fully functional for existing services.

  • A lack of mandatory training for doctors and nurses, as the island's capacity legislation was only introduced in 2018.

  • The safeguards proposed are not sufficient, based on examples in other countries where euthanasia is allowed.

Politicians are set to debate whether to agree, in principle, to allowing the legislative changes. A vote in favour would then lead to legislation being drafted as to how an assisted dying service could be provided.

It follows a vote by a Citizens Jury in favour of changing the law with certain conditions in place.