Gurmesh Singh welcomes Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill passing lower house

Dying With Dignity’s Field of Hearts.


ON the last parliamentary sitting day of 2021, the lower house of the NSW Parliament passed the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2021.

Gurmesh Singh, Member for Coffs Harbour, told News Of The Area the Coffs Harbour electorate was in favour of the bill.

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“The Coffs Harbour electorate was polled on the issue of Voluntary Assisted Dying with the question asked: ‘Should terminally ill patients be able to end their own life with medical assistance?’”

82 percent of people polled in the Coffs Harbour electorate were in favour, with ten percent being neutral and only eight percent being against.

“That survey, along with the hundreds of pieces of correspondence to my office indicated strong support for the bill in the Coffs Harbour electorate,” Mr Singh said.

To apply for voluntary assisted dying under the bill, a person must meet certain eligibility criteria.

“To be eligible for voluntary assisted dying under the bill, a person must be over the age of 18; be assessed as having decision-making capabilities, and have made the decision without duress; be terminally ill with death expected within six months, or within 12 months for neurodegenerative diseases; the condition must cause intolerable suffering; and if the doctor assesses the person as having met the criteria, they must refer them to other specialists like oncologists or psychologists.

“If they are eligible, they must sign a declaration in front of two witnesses.

“Then, a voluntary assisted dying board will consider the application and can refuse the application if it does not believe all the criteria is met.

“An independent witness must be present when the health practitioner administers the drugs and must certify that it is voluntary.

“The patient can withdraw from the process at any time.”

Mr Singh said the bill did not reduce the importance of palliative care, as the vast majority of people would be ineligible to apply for voluntary assisted dying.

“Of course, palliative care is and should be a key component of end-of-life care.

“The vast majority of people will not be eligible for voluntary assisted dying under the bill, and therefore may rely on palliative care for their end-of-life care.

“I welcome any changes to palliative care that will improve end-of-life care, and we should make those improvements independent of the passage of the bill.”

You can view Mr Singh’s full speech to Parliament on his Facebook Page.




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