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Dr Stephen Parnis (Twitter)

Former Australian Medical Association national vice-president Stephen Parnis has expressed “serious” concern about the “distressing” push to train student doctors in euthanasia as part of their university degrees. Source: The Australian.

The proposal is being discussed in multiple jurisdictions amid concerns a shortage of voluntary assisted dying (VAD)-trained doctors in some areas is preventing greater uptake of voluntary euthanasia, particularly in Tasmania and Victoria.

In Tasmania, only a “handful” of doctors have done the required VAD training, amid a severe statewide GP shortage.

The architect of that state’s VAD laws, upper house MP Mike Gaffney, has approached the University of Tasmania’s Medical School about including part or all of the official VAD training in medical degrees.

Dying with Dignity revealed South Australia’s Health Department had started discussions with universities in that state along similar lines. In Victoria, the group said VAD-practising doctors had been invited to address medical students.

The Australian Medical Association said it did not have a position on the issue, but including VAD training in medical degrees faces opposition within the profession.

Dr Parnis, a Victorian emergency physician, expressed “serious” concern about the “distressing” push.

“If the vast majority of the medical profession are unwilling to participate – which remains the case – then I think the zealots who push this like a craze need to think about why that might be, rather than think about involvement (of) people at the most junior stages of their careers,” Dr Parnis said.

“In the race to bring this to its availability, many people have, I think, suspended their ability to critically appraise this.”


Push for med school VAD training to lift doctor voluntary euthanasia involvement (By Matthew Denholm, The Australian)