St Vincent’s Health to reject euthanasia laws

Tuesday 11 July 2017

Media and Communications Office
While proposed new laws to legalise euthanasia are set to be debated in parliament later this year, some hospitals will refuse to assist patients in ending their lives. This morning CEO of St Vincent’s Toby Hall spoke to 3AW’s Tony Jones, claiming that St Vincent’s will ban their staff from performing assisted suicides.

‘It’s important to say that everybody is coming at this from the point of view that they care about people dying well,’ Hall said. ‘The heart behind this, I think, everyone has got in common. Our view, though, that palliative is care is the right way to help people have an excellent end of life.’

St Vincent’s is Australia’s biggest Catholic non-for-profit healthcare provider. The hospital set up the first palliative care facility in Melbourne in 1938, in Caritas Christi Hospice at Kew and remains a leading provider of palliative care services in Victoria. ‘We believe it’s absolutely the right way to help people have a dignified, good, and in most cases pain-free end of life,’ Hall said, maintaining that only a tiny proportion of Australians wanted legal, assisted suicide for themselves, and, more appropriate was a renewed investment in palliative care.

‘Hospitals are essentially about supporting people to stay alive, and we have to hold on to that principle,’ Hall said. ‘And we believe that palliative care, when it’s delivered properly can support all people for a good end of life.’

‘If there’s a situation where someone really is seeking a different end… St Vincent’s will say there are other hospitals and other clinicians who can help you. We won't turn them away, we would say our belief ... is that our (palliative) services are excellent. They will give you a dignified, good end of life.’

The government has stated its intention to present an assisted dying bill for MPs to vote on in the second half of 2017.
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