Doctors would be allowed to use telehealth to conduct appointments about euthanasia and the threshold for who can access euthanasia could be lowered under a crossbench plan introduced to the Victorian Parliament yesterday. Source: Herald Sun.
Victoria’s euthanasia laws, which came into force in 2019, require two doctors to make an in-person assessment to ensure the patient is of sound mind, and has less than six months to live with a physical illness or 12 months with a neurological condition.
The historic legislation passed Victoria’s Legislative Council in late 2017 after a marathon 28-hour sitting, and despite ferocious opposition from conservative MPs.
Justice Party MP Stuart Grimley yesterday introduced a private member's bill to remove some of the hurdles faced by people who have been unable to access the scheme.
The Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board said in its latest report that while accessibility to euthanasia was improving for regional Victorians, there was a need for more specialists. It also found that 36 per cent of applications to access the scheme were from patients living outside of metropolitan Melbourne.
Dr John Daffy from the Australian Care Alliance, a group opposed to voluntary euthanasia, said he was “extremely concerned” about any legislation that would enable doctors to conduct telehealth consultations on “something as serious as this”.
About five applications from terminally ill Victorians seeking permits to die are being lodged each week under Victoria’s landmark voluntary assisted dying laws.
Push for telehealth video-link consultations for assisted dying cases (By Sumeyya Ilanbey and Annika Smethurst, The Age)