Proposed laws prompt concerns about doctor training

Between July and September, the NSW Ageing Disability Commission received 701 reports relating to elder abuse (Bigstock)

Fears have been raised about scant training for doctors to spot elder abuse and coercion if euthanasia laws being debated in New South Wales Parliament are passed. Source: Daily Telegraph.

In Victoria, the training for the euthanasia doctors to detect bullying, coercion or elder abuse is a six-minute online course, half of which consists of watching a video.

The new legislation being debated in NSW states that doctors must “complete approved training … (in) identifying and assessing risk factors for pressure or duress”.

But yesterday NSW Health refused to say what exactly the training would be.

Sydney medical negligence lawyer and academic Anna Walsh said more stringent safeguards must be built into any proposed laws, while geriatrician John Obeid has raised concerns about elderly people being made to feel it’s their “duty to die”, based on overseas research.

The Australian Care Alliance has also flagged fears relating to elder abuse and financial motives.

Richard Egan, from the Alliance, said elder abuse, including from adult children with “inheritance impatience” is a growing problem in Australia.

The dashboard of the NSW Ageing Disability Commission shows that between July and the end of September it received 701 reports about possible abuse of older people on its hotline.

Catholic Health Australia also raised fears over protecting the elderly.

“The bill’s so-called safeguards are a mirage – they offer little to no protection for those most vulnerable in our society,” spokeswoman Nicole Clements said.


NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying laws prompt concerns about doctor training (By Clarissa Bye, Daily Telegraph

RELATED COVERAGE (Sydney Morning Herald

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