Telehealth: the ongoing story
If you’re a Facebook fan, you’ll have noticed our post asking for information from anyone affected by the “telehealth” law around voluntary assisted dying.
In a nutshell, this is a 1995 Commonwealth law which forbids the use of a “carriage” or telecommunication service, to discuss or incite suicide. The Queensland law does not define VAD as “suicide.” But the federal law over-rides our State law. Professionals who disregard it face very heavy penalties.
Our emails and posts didn’t find anyone who’d been at a disadvantage because they were requesting VAD from a rural area. This is testament to the VAD teams who go out of their way to meet the patient on their home ground, and have provided an incredible service across the State. We believe that doctors are working overtime to make sure that no-one who lives in a rural area is disadvantaged.
Each State Dying with Dignity group has been lobbying their own Attorney General to request a solution to this dilemma. We’ve been heartened by the recent support from two Queensland MPs. Ali King, member for Pumicestone, lobbied at the recent ALP National Conference for better access to Voluntary Assisted Dying for rural Queenslanders. Aaron Harper, member for Thuringowa and a long-time supporter of voluntary assisted dying, raised the issue at the Bush Summit in Rockhampton. It all helps to keep the issue on the agenda. Thank you, Ali and Aaron!
A thank you to VAD doctors
Sheila (President), Jos (Secretary) and Cynthia (Bundaberg co-ordinator) attended the recent National VAD online meeting. We were shocked to hear that Dr Nick Carr has incurred a fine of $12000 for what amounts to a clerical error. Nick is a Victorian GP who has been involved in providing VAD to patients across the State since the first days of VAD in Victoria. There’s been an incredibly successful crowd-funding effort which raised more than the goal in less than one day, showing the massive public support for Nick and other doctors who provide VAD.
Or you can email us with a message of support for Nick and his colleagues: [email protected]
We’d like to gather your messages and send them to Nick as a way of expressing everyone’s gratitude for his dedication.