Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Bill 2016 introduced

Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Bill 2016 introduced

The Victorian Minister for Health introduced the Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Bill on 13 September 2016. The Bill largely reflects the proposals made in the Department of Health and Human Services discussion paper that preceded the draft legislation (Simplifying medical treatment decision making and advance care planning). Among other elements, the Bill proposes to:

  • Repeal the Medical Treatment Act 1988 and make significant changes to the medical decision-making provisions of the Guardianship and Administration Act 1986
  • Introduce a broader range of binding statutory advance care directives, enabling people to refuse and consent to medical treatments for current and future conditions
  • Introduce values directives that registered health practitioners and medical treatment decision-makers must give effect to
  • Designate all people authorised to make a medical treatment decision for someone without capacity as “medical treatment decision-makers”, whether they have been appointed (e.g. by VCAT, or under the  legislation) or are the default decision-maker under the legislation
  • Change the ‘person responsible’ and ‘nearest relative’ definitions to require that designated medical treatment decision-makers be in a ‘close and continuing’ relationship with the patient, and to remove grandparents, grandchildren, uncles, aunts, nephews and nieces from the list
  • Change the basis upon which decisions are made for people who do not have capacity (or a binding statutory advance care directive), from a best interests test to a ‘substituted judgement’ test, and to consideration of ‘personal and social wellbeing’ when a person’s preferences or values are unknown
  • Permit children aged under 18 years to make advance care directives if they are assessed as having decision-making capacity to do so