Medical bodies urge passage of ‘assisted dying’ bill

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Canada’s leading health care provider organizations are urging Senators to ensure the enactment of Bill C-14, Medical assistance in dying, as soon as possible.

Health care providers are deeply concerned that Parliament will not meet the June 6 deadline and disappointed that the Senate has adjourned without passing Bill C-14.  Now that the deadline appears destined to be missed, health care providers and their patients expect that Senators will pass legislation at the earliest opportunity.

It is with all gravity, that the Canadian Nurses Association, Canadian Pharmacist Association, HealthCareCAN and the Canadian Medical Association are working together to advance one common imperative: the need to enact Bill C-14 as a national priority.

Without clear federal legislated safeguards in place, health care providers and their patients will face a legal grey zone, in particular given that the SCC ruling was silent on the roles of health professionals other than physicians. Further, disparities across jurisdictions will pose real consequences and concerns for a national framework, not least of which being inconsistent and patchwork rules.

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“Medical assistance in dying is a team effort involving patients, their families, physicians, hospitals, nurses, pharmacists, and others. Failure to pass legislation urgently leaves us all in the lurch,” says Bill Tholl, President and CEO of HealthCareCAN, the national voice of Canada’s hospitals and healthcare organizations.

“We are disappointed that there will be no national federal legislation in place by the deadline. While the Supreme Court Decision provides some clarity for physicians, it does not specifically address the role of pharmacists, which will cause confusion and hesitation within the profession. ” says Perry Eisenschmid, CEO of the Canadian Pharmacists Association

“Physicians across the country remain uncertain and in that climate of uncertainty Canadians will be left to languish, exactly what the Supreme Court of Canada ruling in the Carter case sought to avoid. We urge the Senate to pass the Bill after they return from their hiatus next week,” says Dr. Cindy Forbes, President of the Canadian Medical Association, the voluntary professional association representing Canada’s doctors. – CNW

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