Hospital doctors have dropped their 13-year opposition to the concept of helping terminally ill patients die.
Following a poll of its members, the Royal College of Physicians has now adopted a neutral stance on the issue of assisted dying.
Some groups have spoken out against the change, saying vulnerable patients need to be protected.
The Suicide Act 1961 makes it illegal to encourage or assist a suicide in England and Wales.
Nearly 7,000 doctors responded to the poll – 43% thought the College should oppose a change in the law, 32% wanted the College to support a change and 25% were neutral.
But even though more doctors polled were opposed to assisted dying then in favour, the College has shifted to a neutral stance because neither side achieved majority of 60%.
A group of doctors opposed to any change in the College’s position are planning to challenge the decision to ask for a majority result.
Assisted dying: Doctors’ group adopts neutral position