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Statement from Cancer Council Victoria on the Victorian Government’s Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Bill

Thursday 27 October, 2016

Cancer Council Victoria welcomes the Victorian Government's Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Bill, currently being debated in Parliament.

Cancer Council Victoria CEO, Mr Todd Harper said the Bill is designed to improve and simplify advance care planning law, strengthening the protection of patients' choices.

The existing legal framework is uncertain, complex and not easily understood by patients, families, carers or health professionals.

"The reality is that many people lose the capacity to make treatment decisions at the end of life," Mr Harper said.

"Although these conversations may be difficult, it is important that Victorians feel supported to talk to their families, carers and doctors about their preferences and values, and the type of treatment they would choose at this time, and have confidence that their wishes about end of life care will be respected."

Cancer Council notes the Bill is part of the Victorian Government's broader end of life care strategy that includes greater investment and workforce development in the palliative care sector.

Mr Harper said these initiatives will collectively improve the experiences and outcomes for people affected by cancer and other illnesses.