Fo­cus on as­sisted dy­ing bill

Tweed Daily News - - NEWS - Nikki Todd nikki.todd@tweed­dai­

TWEED MP Geoff Provest will be vot­ing in sup­port of the Vol­un­tary As­sisted Dy­ing Bill 2017 when it is pre­sented to the New South Wales Par­lia­ment in com­ing weeks.

The bi­par­ti­san bill is ex­pected to be in­tro­duced into the Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil in the next fort­night, with mem­bers of the ma­jor par­ties to be given a con­science vote on the is­sue.

If passed, it will move to the Lower House, where Mr Provest will get a chance to have his say on the is­sue he holds close to his heart af­ter watch­ing his fa­ther die 15 years ago suf­fer­ing from can­cer.

“I watched my fa­ther go down­hill rapidly,” he said.

“One day he would know who I was, the next day he would ask who I was.

“He was the old-style school teacher that wore the sports coat and the tie even in 50 de­grees heat. He was a stick­ler in pre­sen­ta­tion and cor­rect­ness and he would have ab­so­lutely hated it.

“We were quite happy that we knew, with in­creased mor­phine, he would only have a few weeks left.”

De­scribed by com­men­ta­tors as one of the most “con­ser­va­tive” pieces of leg­is­la­tion gov­ern­ing the is­sue, the bill lays out very spe­cific guide­lines about who may be el­i­gi­ble.

If passed, it would al­low terminally ill NSW res­i­dents aged 25 or older to end their lives with med­i­cal as­sis­tance. How­ever, a pa­tient must be able to prove they are likely to die within 12 months, with the de­ci­sion to be signed off by two med­i­cal prac­ti­tion­ers and an

❝I watched my fa­ther go down­hill rapidly...

— Geoff Provest

in­de­pen­dent psy­chi­a­trist or psy­chol­o­gist to ver­ify the pa­tient is of sound mind.

“You need to be able to demon­strate that you have re­ally lost your qual­ity of life, so there are a num­ber of safe­guards in there,” Mr Provest said.

Mr Provest said he had been guided by the opin­ion of for­mer Tweed Hos­pi­tal Med­i­cal Staff Coun­cil head Dr Ian Mcphee, who is a strong sup­porter of vol­un­tary as­sisted dy­ing.

Turn to page 17 for more on Dr Ian Mcphee’s story.

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