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Report advocates greater clarity and certainty around end of life choices

Report advocates greater clarity and certainty around end of life choices

By LIV Media

Health Voluntary Assisted Dying 

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The Law Institute of Victoria welcomes the recommendations for greater clarity and certainty around advanced care planning in the End of Life Choices report issued today by the Legislative Council Standing Committee on Legal and Social Issues.

The LIV made a submission to the inquiry and was also called as witnesses at the inquiry late last year.

Bill O’Shea, of the LIV Health and Elder Law Committee, said the report had taken on a number of the recommendations outlined in the LIV submission, including the call for a reform of the legal framework surrounding how decisions are made regarding medical treatment for a person who lacks capacity.

The current legislative framework is fragmented and confusing, Mr O’Shea said. Currently three acts govern decision-making regarding medical treatment for a person who lacks capacity – the Medical Treatment Act, the Guardianship Act and the Power of Attorney Act.

The report acknowledged the deficiencies in each of those acts and the need for legislative reform, Mr O’Shea said. “We welcome the fact that the report recommends giving more certainty to patients about their wishes being carried out on medical treatment when they lose capacity – with appropriate exceptions.”

Another welcome recommendation was the call to raise awareness of advanced care planning in the wider community and among medical practitioners. Very few patients are admitted to hospital with any form of advanced care planning, and many doctors find the current law too complex.

Questions regarding the legalisation of euthanasia and assisted suicide were also considered by the report. The LIV did not take a position on this issue. “This is very much a conscience issue for individual LIV members,” Mr O’Shea said.

The LIV stresses that at present the report is currently still in the form of recommendations. “We look forward to seeing any legislation the government may introduce in response to the report,” Mr O’Shea said.

For further information regarding this media release please contact the
LIV Media Department

T: 03 9607 9373
E: media@liv.asn.au


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