Geraldton residents will have access to assisted dying drugs in their hometown, says local GP

Phoebe PinGeraldton Guardian
Midwest GP Network deputy chair Dr Ian Taylor.
Camera IconMidwest GP Network deputy chair Dr Ian Taylor. Credit: Supplied

A Geraldton GP has assured locals they will not have to travel to Perth to access voluntary assisted dying, which comes into effect from Thursday.

The Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill received Royal Assent on December 19, 2019 and the legislation will come into effect on July 1.

Midwest GP Network deputy chair Dr Ian Taylor said he expected several local GPs would consider registering for the training required to become an assessor of voluntary assisted dying eligibility.

But Dr Taylor said even if there were no GPs in Geraldton comfortable with administering the death-causing substance, patients could receive the treatment in their home town.

“People will not have to go to Perth for treatment ... the treatment will be brought to them regardless,” he said.

“(The substance) doesn’t necessarily have to be administered by the doctor. It can be given to the person to use later.”

It is very important that people in this situation are given all the information and all the options so they can make an informed decision.

“Patients have to be assessed by two doctors, then the case goes to the (Voluntary Assisted Dying Board) in Perth to make the ultimate decision whether this treatment is appropriate,” he said.

“We have to make sure the person is not being coerced, to make sure they clearly understand what is going on, and they have capacity to make the decision.”

People who had received a terminal diagnosis and were experiencing significant pain must receive information about all available end-of-life treatment options, Dr Taylor said

“Voluntary assisted dying is just one option that someone who has a terminal illness can consider in their management,” he said.

“It is very important that people in this situation are given all the information and all the options so they can make an informed decision.

“Quite often people will consider (voluntary assisted dying) and then they will change their mind, or some people might have (the substance) there and not use it straight away, or have it there if they think they need it.”

Dr Taylor urged people considering voluntary assisted dying to visit their GP to discuss their treatment options and ensure they have all the information.

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