Media release on voluntary assisted dying final report
Friday 21 July 2017
AMA Victoria’s statement on the Voluntary Assisted Dying – Final Report
In light of the release of the Ministerial Advisory Panel on Voluntary Assisted Dying – Final Report, AMA Victoria reiterates the AMA’s 2016 policy position on Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide, and makes the following statement with reference to this report.
The AMA recognises there are divergent views within the medical profession and the broader community in relation to voluntary assisted dying.
The AMA believes that doctors should not be involved in interventions that have as their primary intention the ending of a person’s life.
The AMA acknowledges that laws in relation to voluntary assisted dying are ultimately a matter for society and government.
The Victorian Government has decided that laws should be changed to allow for the practice of voluntary assisted dying. The AMA’s position is that the medical profession must be involved in the development of relevant legislation, regulations and guidelines which protect:
- all doctors acting within the law;
- vulnerable patients – such as those who may be coerced or be susceptible to undue influence, or those who may consider themselves to be a burden to their families, carers or society;
- patients and doctors who do not want to participate; and
- the functioning of the health system as a whole.
To that end, AMA Victoria responded to the proposals and questions put forward by the Ministerial Advisory Panel and made a submission to the Bill’s discussion paper. We affirmed the AMA’s position, and argued for specific safeguards to protect the rights of doctors and their patients should any law come into effect. This includes conscientious objection provisions. Doctors must never be required to provide, or participate in, certain medical treatments or procedures that conflict with his or her own personal beliefs.
On behalf of all our members, AMA Victoria will closely review the Panel’s final report and any proposed legislation, and openly challenge any aspect that does not address AMA Victoria’s submission. An initial reading of today’s report suggests that many of AMA Victoria’s recommendations and concerns have been addressed.
Any change to the laws must never compromise the provision and resourcing of end of life care and palliative care services.
MEDIA CONTACT Felicity Ryan 0437 450 506 / firstname.lastname@example.org