NORTHERN Tablelands MP Adam Marshall is asking the community to provide him with their thoughts on a proposal to be debated in Parliament that would allow terminally ill patients in NSW to voluntarily end their lives with medical assistance.
Mr Marshall said later this year state parliament would debate the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017 which provides a legislative framework for the rights of terminally ill persons to request and receive assistance to end their lives voluntarily.
He said that under the framework of the Bill, certain terminally ill persons over the age of 25 may be assisted by their medical practitioners and other nominated persons to administer a substance to themselves. The Bill also provides protection for persons providing such assistance and sets up safeguards against possible abuse of the right to end your own life.
“For various reasons, this is an uncomfortable, emotional and complex subject for many people and I’d like to hear the community’s thoughts about it,” Mr Marshall said.
“If passed, this legislation will provide eligible terminally patients in NSW the right to request and receive help to end their lives with dignity at a time and place of their choosing.
“This will give greater options to many people who have made peace, yet find themselves struck with seemingly interminable pain or discomfort. It will be tempered with criteria and protections that prevent abuse and ensure it’s only used in the right cases.
“People will have different perspectives in this Bill and while I have my own view, I want to hear from the entire community. Any comments, questions and concerns are most welcome and will help this legislation reflect the sentiment of the people of NSW, whether it’s eventually passed or not.”
To help the community provide their views, Mr Marshall has created page where people can download or view the entire Bill and leave their feedback or questions and their details. It can be found at www.adammarshall.com.au/survey
The Bill has been drafted by a group of MPs from both Houses and all political parties and contains a number of criteria to be met before a patient is eligible to end their life.
A patient must be over 25, live in NSW, have a condition that would prove fatal within 12 months and be experiencing severe pain, suffering or be unacceptably incapacitated. The patient must also be assessed by their primary medical practitioner, specialists and mental health professionals to check their health and understanding of the process.
If a patient is eligible and has made an informed decision to proceed, after a seven day waiting period they can access assistance to end their life in a controlled and compassionate manner.
The patient can change their mind at any stage and there are severe penalties imposed for people who may try to influence the decision of patient or medical practitioners involved.
“This legislation has been a long time in the drafting and was written to try and consider all viewpoints in this complex and often controversial area,” Mr Marshall said.
“I’d encourage anyone interested to join in on this survey and provide me with your views. Now is the time to be heard.”