The Royal College of Nursing has begun consulting its members on assisted suicide.

Chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter said: "Many people have strong views on assisted suicide, an issue which provokes compelling arguments and passionate support on both sides of the debate."

He said recent high profile cases had prompted the royal college to offer its members "the opportunity to share their views on this sensitive but important issue".

"I urge all members to make their voice heard by participating in the consultation, either through forums, branches, as individuals or through regional and country boards."

Briefing

The college has published a briefing document summarising political and legal positions on assisted suicide, arguments for and against, and potential issues for nurses.

Assisted suicide is illegal in the UK but the government's position has been challenged several times in court.

For details, see www.rcn.org.uk