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BMA end-of-life care and physician-assisted dying project
  1. Sophie Brannan,
  2. Ruth Campbell,
  3. Martin Davies,
  4. Veronica English,
  5. Rebecca Mussell,
  6. Julian C Sheather
  1. Department of Medical Ethics, British Medical Association, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Martin Davies, Department of Medical Ethics, British Medical Association, BMA House, Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9JP, UK; mdavies{at}bma.org.uk

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BMA end-of-life care and physician-assisted dying project

The British Medical Association (BMA) recently completed a major project exploring attitudes and perceptions around end-of-life care and physician-assisted dying, as reported in an earlier Ethics briefing.1 Working with specialist social research company TNS BMRB, the BMA engaged with members of the public and doctors in a series of public dialogue events across the UK.

The final report of the project has been published in three parts. Volume 1 (a comprehensive literature review of existing evidence on the topic) and volume 2 (a report of the public dialogue research) were published in January and volume 3 (the Association's reflections and recommendations for action) was published in March.2

The reflections and recommendations are grouped into the eight categories that members of the public who attended the events identified as being crucial to the provision of good end-of-life care: ‘being treated as a person’, medical services, location, information, planning and coordination, communication, emotional support and financial and legal. Each section explores the important components of those categories, as well as outlining the main challenges to provide those aspects of good end-of-life care, and making recommendations as to how they can be overcome.

In addition to this, there were three overarching themes which emerged from the work:

  • The need to ensure consistently high services: while recognising the many excellent examples of end-of-life care provision, the research highlighted the variability in the quality of care between and within geographical areas and between different medical conditions.

  • The need for education, training and support: many doctors who participated in the research highlighted a lack of confidence in providing all aspects of end-of-life care and expressed a desire for more education and training in this area, along with the provision of continuing support throughout their careers.

  • The central role of families and those …

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