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AMA Vic welcomes Labor's proposed changes to Medical Treatment Act 1988 (Vic)

 Sunday 16 November

"AMA Victoria welcomes the Victorian Labor Party’s announcement to introduce changes to the Medical Treatment Act. This will clarify and strengthen the status of advance care directives under the law, and will allow the work of people like A/Prof Bill Silverster and The Austin Hospital’s Respecting Patient Choices model to be further developed," AMA Victoria President, Dr Tony Bartone said today.

"AMA Victoria has long been calling for amendments to either the Medical Treatment Act 1988 (Vic) or the Guardianship and Administration Act 1986 (Vic), as this will enable the enforceability of advance care directives (under specific circumstances) and protection for health professionals for compliance with advance care directives (under specific circumstances).

"An advance care directive is different to a refusal of treatment certificate made under the Medical Treatment Act, which is binding on a medical practitioner if it is made for a “current condition”. But no one can foresee what our health will be like in several years, and the Act, as it stands, does not cover future health conditions.

"Significant resourcing needs to accompany any legislative changes, which will include the training of all healthcare professionals in this area - GPs, palliative care physicians, hospital workers, nursing home workers and so on,” Dr Bartone said.

In 2012, the Victorian Law Reform Commission reviewed the Guardianship and Administration Act 1986 (Vic) and recommended that new legislation should enable a person with capacity to document instructions about future decision making and ‘an instructional directive should be able to provide binding instructions or advisory instructions about health matters’.

AMA Victoria calls on the Liberal Party to make a similar undertaking which will strengthen advance care directives through legislative reform.


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