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Monday, January 17, 2022

Paramedics back voluntary assisted dying law reform for NSW

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NSW Paramedics have pledged their support for law reform to support voluntary assisted dying, urging leaders to act to restore agency and dignity to those suffering terminal or debilitating illness. 

The Australian Paramedics Association (NSW) was announced yesterday as a member of the NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying Alliance, a coalition of 29 unions, health and community groups working together to support voluntary assisted dying (VAD) law reform in NSW.

APA (NSW) Delegate Brett Simpson says the current lack of legislation around VAD is failing patients and their loved ones.

“I hope our leaders will find the courage and compassion to act upon this issue,” Simpson said.

“For those suffering from terminal illness, intolerable and untreatable pain can be an everyday reality.

“These patients and their families are often let down by the absence of a legal structure to acknowledge their experience, and to empower and support them through it.

“In NSW, our reluctance to engage frankly with the realities of terminal and debilitating illness leaves patients without recourse to exercise informed agency over their treatment.”

In a membership survey carried out by APA (NSW), more than 80 per cent of members supported joining the alliance. 

The union has long advocated for better resourcing for the health care system, including better palliative care.

“This legislation is about affording those with terminal illness the dignity of choice,” Simpson said.

“Voluntary Assisted Dying is not a replacement for palliative care, rather it is a safety net for those who wish to access it when palliative care can no longer meet their needs.”

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