Faith-based hospitals will not be able to stop outside doctors helping terminally ill patients die after the Queensland Government rejected the churches' pleas for protection from the nation's widest euthanasia law. Source: The Australian.
The legislation leaves the private, church-backed institutions that provide more than a quarter of all hospital beds in Queensland powerless to intervene if a patient who qualifies for VAD and is too ill to be moved elsewhere insists on being assessed and potentially dosed with death-dealing drugs on the premises.
The bill approved yesterday by state cabinet notionally gives individual health workers and institutions the capacity to opt out of the assisted dying scheme – except in cases when it would cause unnecessary suffering to transfer the patient concerned to another centre, a loophole that has been seized on by church leaders to argue they will be roped into the program.
Some ministers at the cabinet discussion wanted the churches’ push for a right of conscientious objection addressed. Instead, cabinet agreed the legislation would remain intact and be augmented by clinical guidelines setting out how the VAD was to interact with the faith-based hospital and care sector.
The numbers in the single-chamber Queensland parliament mean the legislation to be debated from today will pass the conscience vote.
Catholic Health Australia’s mission director, Rebecca Burdick Davies, said she was disappointed that a “flawed bill” had been retained after several rounds of talks with Deputy Premier Steven Miles.
Churches denied a say in patient deaths (By Lydia Lynch, The Australian)
New guidelines an olive branch for VAD opponents (The Courier-Mail)