The Expert Panel’s final report details how voluntary assisted dying would work in Victoria. The Government will respond to the report and is expected to introduce legislation into the Parliament before the end of the year.
According to the report, eligibility will be restricted to people over the age of 18 suffering from an advanced and incurable illness, disease or medical condition with weeks or months left to live (but not longer than 12 months). A person must have sound decision-making capacity and be suffering from a condition that cannot be relieved in a manner that is tolerable to them. They must also live in Victoria and be an Australian citizen or permanent resident. Those with dementia will not be able to access the scheme.
COTA Victoria commends the thorough consultation process by the Expert Panel and their deep consideration of issues and concerns raised by organisations and the wider community. The report contains practical recommendations to ensure that the legislation is both compassionate and safe. Sixty-eight safeguards have been proposed to protect against the misuse of the voluntary assisted dying provisions.
Whilst COTA supports consumer choice we are concerned that vulnerable people are protected from abuse. The report released today recognised the role of Seniors Rights Victoria (a program of COTA Victoria) in preventing and addressing elder abuse.
Older Victorians must have clear, accurate and accessible information on what is being proposed. This is to allay fears and misunderstandings that may arise from media coverage of views and public discussion about these proposals.
Voluntary assisted dying legislation if passed, will only be relevant to (and accessed by) a very small percentage of the population. It is therefore important to recognise the need for broader understanding and conversations about end of life issues in our community. This includes the importance of Advance Care Planning and the crucial role of Palliative Care in relieving pain and suffering in all settings including residential aged care.
COTA will consider the report and provide information on what is being proposed over coming weeks.
In the following link you can wrath the preparation of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill by the Prof. Brian K Owler.
Ronda Held 0450 785 437