20 October 2017

RACGP welcomes moves to allow terminally ill Victorian patients to die with dignity and respect

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has welcomed the passing of the voluntary assisted dying bill in the lower house of Victorian parliament this morning after comprehensive and contemporary discussion about the issue.

RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel said he is satisfied that ethical and professional issues associated with voluntary assisted dying have been appraised appropriately in the bill.

“The voluntary assisted dying bill is about meeting the needs of terminally ill patients with incurable medical conditions who do not find answers in palliative care,” Dr Seidel said.

“Those patients are dying and we should allow them to die with dignity and respect.

“The RACGP is satisfied that appropriate safeguards for patients, relatives, and medical and health practitioners have been put in place in the legislation.

“The RACGP is also satisfied that the principle of conscious objection has been upheld, which means that medical practitioners have a choice of not participating in the voluntary assisted dying process.

“Assuming this bill also passes the upper house, we urge other states and territories to consider the Victorian law as a legislative blueprint. Pragmatically, there needs to be a nationally consistent approach.”

The RACGP recommends that further support needs to be offered to patients and practitioners, as well as communities at large, around this issue.

“A timeframe of 18 months from Royal Ascent to implementation is therefore realistic and welcome,” Dr Seidel said.

Dr Seidel also commends the Ministerial Advisory Committee and Professor Brian Owler on the considerate report on voluntary assisted dying that informed the draft legislation

Media enquiries

Journalists and media outlets seeking comment and information from the RACGP can contact:

John Ronan

Senior Media Advisor

Ally Francis

Media and Engagement Specialist