On 12 March 2018, some laws in Victoria changed.
Gone is the legislation the used to allow the appointment of a medical power of attorney.
However, all Enduring Powers of Attorney (Medical Treatment) completed prior to today, will remain valid.
The new legislation is much more rigorous for those being appointed to make medical treatment decisions, and also on the medical staff to follow someone’s wishes.
Hence, from today, the form will change, and you will appoint a ‘Medical Treatment Decision Maker’, instead of a medical power of attorney.
Anyone that you appoint will now also have to sign an acceptance of that role, just like the other form of power of attorney, and will also have to declare that they will follow your values and wishes, and will adhere to an binding advanced healthcare directive put in place.
The people who can witness an Appointment of a Medical Treatment Decision Maker have tightened up, and at least one of those witnesses must be someone who can witness an affidavit, or a medical practitioner.
Practically, other than a new form, there is not much that has changed that will effect you, except that you can now prepare a binding advanced healthcare directive.
Previously, we have offered advanced healthcare directives as a record of your wishes. They were non-binding, and really up to the person you appointed as your medical power of attorney to ensure that they were followed. We will still continue to offer these non-binding advanced healthcare directives as a good guide and conversation piece.
Now, you can prepare a binding advanced healthcare directive, with your doctor, that will bind anyone performing medical care on you in certain conditions, and anyone who ignores your directive can be liable to legal punishment.
The new legislation is primarily designed to improve on the old regime, but also to make sure people’s wishes are followed.
We can help you to prepare an Appointment of a Medical Treatment Decision Maker, or a non-binding advanced healthcare directive, but you will need to speak to your doctor if you want your advanced healthcare directive to be binding.