November 29, 2018

Assisted Dying: Your life, your choice

Mr Julian Gardner AM, chair of the Victorian Implementation Task Force for the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act (2017), presented at a forum on Voluntary Assisted Dying on Tuesday.

Julian Gardner is a lawyer with an interest in human rights.

He has been involved in high profile end-of-life decisions and litigation, and responsible for promoting and protecting the rights of people with disabilities that affected their decision-making capacity.

The forum provided an opportunity for staff to hear about the new Act and the role health care services will have when this legislation comes into effect on 19 June 2019. The forum was very well received by health care professionals from all backgrounds at Northern Health.

Julian Gardner, who has extensive experience in advocating for vulnerable people, spoke about the legislative requirements surrounding the Act, and the importance of patients being able to have compassionate access to Voluntary Assisted Dying.

Northern Health has established a steering committee to ensure that we meet the legislative requirements contained in the Act by 19 June 2019. One of the first tasks of the committee is to review the resources at Northern Health to ascertain which pathways will be offered with Voluntary Assisted Dying. 

“Mr Gardner gave a very thorough overview of the governance and patient safety mechanisms involved in the procedure,” said Associate Professor Bill van Gaal, Northern Health Divisional Director of Emergency Services and Director of Cardiology.

Bill, pictured above with Julian Gardner, was just one of the many participants in attendance at the forum.

“This generated much discussion around the process, what this means for patients and their families in our community and steps Northern Health should undertake to comply with the new legislation,” Bill said.