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New historic laws to give Victorians a clearer say on end-of-life-care

05 July, 2016

Victorians have a chance to shape how new historic laws will be implemented to give people greater powers to set directives about their future medical treatment, including end-of-life preferences and wishes.

In a Victorian first, the Andrews Labor Government will deliver on a key election promise and introduce new laws into Parliament this year to protect advance care directives in legislation.

As part of this work, Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy, is calling for feedback on theSimplifying Medical Treatment Decision Making and Advance Care Planning position paper which will inform how the legislation should be implemented.

An advance care directive is a legally binding document designed to make a person's preferences for future medical treatment clear when that person no longer has the capacity to make decisions directly themselves.

Existing laws are exceedingly complex and do not provide certainty about how people would like to be supported at the end of their lives.

The Government's legislation will simplify the law, and make it easier for health professionals to understand their obligations to provide medical treatment in line with people's preferences, and for patients to have their end-of-life care wishes known and respected.

It will enable people with decision making capacity to prepare an advance care directive outlining the kind of medical care they would want, or that they do not want, administered in the event of current or future conditions such as cancer, brain damage or dementia.

This includes giving binding instructions and describing personal values, appointing a medical treatment decision maker and appointing a support person.

The legislation will take into consideration relevant recommendations from the Parliamentary Committee Inquiry into End-of-Life choices, and the Government will provide a full response to the Inquiry in due course.

The Position Paper can be viewed at submissions must be sent to by Friday 29 July.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy

"This Victorian first legislation will ensure patients and their families have their end-of-life care wishes known and respected."

"End-of-life is a difficult discussion, but it's a conversation we all must have with our loved ones."

Quotes attributable to Parliamentary Secretary for Carers Gabrielle Williams

"All Victorians deserve access to the best possible, compassionate end-of-life care which relieves pain and suffering, and supports families and carers."

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