AMA (WA) supports amendments to VAD Bill | AMA (WA)

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AMA (WA) | Dr Andrew Miller

AMA (WA) supports amendments to VAD Bill

Tuesday November 19, 2019

The Australian Medical Association (WA) will support the package of Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill amendments now proposed by the State Government.

“It will make the legislation significantly more workable, more equitable and also safer for patients,” AMA (WA) President Dr Andrew Miller said.

“We welcome all these changes as they sensibly improve the standing of patients and the process for doctors, and include:

  • important collection of information about access to palliative care;
  • independence of the two doctor consultations;
  • incorporation of opinions from other doctors when required;
  • clarification of access to negligence laws by patients;
  • removal of punitive fines for late submission of a form by every practitioner;
  • improved involvement of family; and
  • clarification around the situations in which doctors can raise the option of Voluntary Assisted Dying.

“All of this is good for dying patients and the doctors who care for them at the end of life.

“We did not get everything we asked for, but we respect the Parliament, and will work to make sure the issues important to doctors continue to be advanced,” Dr Miller said.

The AMA (WA) has, over the last few months, been involved in extensive discussions with many Members of Parliament and their advisers in relation to the VAD Bill.

“On behalf of the many doctors from right across WA, many more than 1500 who have contributed their varied views via the AMA, I would like to thank the Minister, the Government, Opposition and all other parties for listening to our views and concerns about the draft VAD Bill and for thoughtfully considering our proposed amendments,” Dr Miller said.

“But our job is not yet done. Just as important as the legislation will be the implementation of guidelines and processes which will occur if this Bill is enacted, as seems likely.”

The AMA (WA) has requested, and the Minister of Health has agreed, that our President will be invited to join the implementation panel. This will help to ensure that the views of the doctors with responsibility under this law to implement the Voluntary Assisted Dying process are heard and respected for the benefit of Western Australian patients.