With assisted dying debates taking place in parliaments around the country, the question now is: What does it mean for GPs?
Victoria’s voluntary assisted dying legislation came into effect in June.
With other states like Western Australia and Queensland now moving to introduce similar laws, the question now is – what does assisted dying mean in practice for GPs?
To tackle the practicalities of the process, SBS Insight host Jenny Brockie facilitated an expert panel at the RACGP’s GP19 conference in Adelaide. . . . [Full text]
Ben P. White, Lindy Willmott, Eliana Close
The Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 (Vic) (VAD Act) will become operational on 19 June, 2019. . . . While some have written on the scope of, and reaction to, the VAD legislation, there has been very little commentary on its implementation. Yet, important choices must be made about translating these laws into clinical practice. These choices have major implications for doctors and other health professionals (including those who choose not to facilitate VAD), patients, hospitals and other health providers. This article considers some key challenges in implementing Victoria’s VAD legislation.
White BP, Willmott L, Close E. Victoria’s voluntary assisted dying law: clinical implementation as the next challenge. Med J Australia. 2019 Mar;210(5):207-209.e1
Australian Associated Press
Doctors will have to ensure Victoria’s complex voluntary assisted
dying laws don’t prevent eligible candidates from accessing the scheme.
It’s one of several legal and ethical challenges
doctors will face when the country’s first euthanasia laws come into
affect in June, experts have said.
“Translating this complex law into appropriate clinical practice will be challenging,” lead author Professor Ben White and colleagues said in an article published in the Australian Medical Journal on Monday. . .[Full text]
Louise Anne Keogh, Lynn Gillam, Marie Bismark, Kathleen McNamee, Amy Webster, Christine Bayly, Danielle Newton
In Victoria, Australia, the law regulating abortion was reformed in 2008, and a clause (‘Section 8’) was introduced requiring doctors with a conscientious objection to abortion to refer women to another provider. This study reports the views of abortion experts on the operation of Section 8 of the Abortion Law Reform Act in Victoria.
Nineteen semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with purposively selected Victorian abortion experts in 2015. Interviews explored the impact of abortion law reform on service provision, including the understanding and implementation of Section 8. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically.
The majority of participants described Section 8 as a mechanism to protect women’s right to abortion, rather than a mechanism to protect doctors’ rights. All agreed that most doctors would not let moral or religious beliefs impact on their patients, and yet all could detail negative experiences related to Section 8. The negative experiences arose because doctors had: directly contravened the law by not referring; attempted to make women feel guilty; attempted to delay women’s access; or claimed an objection for reasons other than conscience. Use or misuse of conscientious objection by Government telephone staff, pharmacists, institutions, and political groups was also reported.
Some doctors are not complying with Section 8, with adverse effects on access to care for some women. Further research is needed to inform strategies for improving compliance with the law in order to facilitate timely access to abortion services.
Keogh LA, Gillam L, Bismark M, McNamee K, Webster A, Bayly C, Newton D. Conscientious objection to abortion, the law and its implementation in Victoria, Australia: perspectives of abortion service providers. BMC Medical Ethics201920:11.
Victoria’s Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017
On 19 April, 2018, the legislature of the State of Victoria, Australia, passed the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017, which will come into force in June, 2019. It is currently the most restrictive euthanasia/assisted suicide (EAS) legislation in the world, running to 130 pages. In brief, the law authorizes physician assisted suicide for terminally ill adults, but permits euthanasia by physicians only when patients are physically unable to self-administer a lethal drug. In both cases a permit must be obtained in advance. The main elements of the law are set out below, followed by consideration of its protection of conscience provisions. . . [Full Text]