Friday 13 April 2018


End-of-life choices, palliative care and related issues have recently been topics of great national debate. This has resulted in some states debating legislation over the last few months, and Victoria passing the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 late last year.


In Western Australia, a Parliamentary Inquiry has been established to examine how the issue should be approached here.


The AMA (WA) supports dialogue around these issues, which address the broader societal concerns with illness and death, including the adequacy and gaps in palliative care.

To that end, the Association is holding a symposium for members to advise on these and related issues. The symposium will discuss pivotal questions such as:


    • • How do we best fill the gaps in palliative care in WA?


    • • What lessons can be learnt from jurisdictions where physician-assisted dying is legal?


    • • What protections would doctors require if physician-assisted dying were introduced in WA?


    • • How can vulnerable groups be protected?


  • Date: Saturday 5 May 2018
    Time: 9am registration for a 9:30am start. Lunch, morning and afternoon tea will be provided.
    Venue: University Club of Western Australia, Hackett Drive, Crawley
    Cost: FREE
  • This event is limited to AMA (WA) members. Register here.  


The symposium will feature international keynote speakers Baroness Ilora Finlay, palliative care physician and former President of the British Medical Association (BMA) and Royal Society of Medicine; and Dr Gord Gubitz, Canadian neurologist and provider of Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD).


We will also hear from local experts on the condition of palliative and end-of-life care in WA and how the medical profession can drive improvement. MDA National medico-legal advisor Dr Sara Bird will discuss the potential legal concerns when treating patients at the end of life and we will hear from Dr Jeff Blackmer, World Medical Association (CMA) Chief Ethics Advisor and Vice-President of the Canadian Medical Association on navigating ethical issues in the assisted dying debate.


Other confirmed speakers include:

Dr Elissa Campbell, Palliative Care WA President
Associate Professor Marianne Phillips, Paediatric and Adolescent Oncologist
Dr Lisa Miller, liaison Psychiatrist and Palliative Medicine Specialist
Professor Theo Boer, Dutch Bioethicist and former Regional Euthanasia Review Committee member
Dr Michael Gannon, AMA Federal President
Dr Frank Jones, General Practitioner and former President of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners 
Dr Felicity Hawkins, Palliative Care physician and UWA Medicine senior lecturer/Palliative Care coordinator
Professor Jocelyn Downie, Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Fellow at the Schulich School of Law and University Research Professor in the Faculties of Law and Medicine at Dalhousie University
Associate Professor Alison Parr, Director of Medical Services, St John of God Murdoch


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Why I Joined the AMA (WA)...
"It is my hope that we can tackle the challenges our profession faces, united as one. If we dislike our working hours, our pay, gender inequality or low training opportunities, we can change these together. As a nurse in my previous life, I know that when a profession stands as one, people listen."
Dr Rebecca Cogan
Dr Rebecca Cogan
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