By Olivia Bunter
Australia’s aging population and growing numbers of those living with a chronic disease will increase the need for end-of-life services, including palliative care, according to Catholic Health Australia (CHA).
A report published by CHA has said that while Australia ranks second in the world for quality and access to palliative care services, urgent work needs to be done to expand on the services before euthanasia is legalised in Western Australia.
In November 2018, the WA State Government announced plans to introduce an assisted-dying bill, shortly after it was announced that Victoria would be the first state in Australia to legalise euthanasia.
Agencies and doctors across the state have urged the Government to improve health care and end-of-life services before legalising voluntary assisted dying, for fear it could be unnecessarily used due to of a lack of resources in the health care sector.
Australian Medical Association Western Australia (AMAWA) President Dr Omar Khorshid said in a statement for The Record that a correction of deficiencies in palliative care should be a prerequisite before the introduction of legislation that propose assisted dying.
“For the vast majority of individuals, good quality palliative care will improve their end-of-life experience without consideration of voluntary assisted dying,” Dr Khorshid explained.
“The introduction of any system which bypasses the need to provide palliative care, threatens the provision of that service and those who depend on it.”
Palliative Care WA has estimated a $100 million funding shortfall in state funding despite the $41 million funding boost from the McGowan Government.
AMAWA said in its Submission to the Ministerial Expert Panel on Voluntary Assisted Dying document that they are concerned at the haste with which this change is being pushed, particularly in light of the opportunity that the state has to learn from Victoria’s experience with the implementation of their own legislation.
Archdiocese of Sydney releases anti-Euthanasia ad
Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher has recently commenced a campaign on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, following the commencement of laws in Victoria.
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