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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 28 October 2010) . . Page.. 5293 ..

MR SPEAKER: Ms Bresnan, a supplementary?

MS BRESNAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, can you please advise whether patients are always treated in accordance with their advance care plan and, if not, why not?

MS GALLAGHER: It is certainly my understanding that that is the case when they come into hospital. I know this has been an issue that the Public Advocate and ACT Health and, indeed, the ACT Government Solicitor, have spent a fair bit of time working through. I think there have been individual cases where there have been some concerns around implementing advance care directives, whether they have come from family members or from clinical staff. But, to my knowledge, clinical staff are implementing advance care directives in accordance with patient wishes.

MS LE COUTEUR: A supplementary, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Le Couteur.

MS LE COUTEUR: Minister, can you advise what measures the government has taken to make patients and healthcare providers aware of the advance care program and have these measures been successful?

MS GALLAGHER: I will check whether ACT Health have done some specific staff information around this. At the time that it was being discussed with the Public Advocate I know the Public Advocate was certainly involved in the dissemination of information around this. But I will check whether Health have done any specific training.

I know that it is an issue that engages clinical staff very closely and I know, from all the discussions I have head with the health professionals involved in implementing advance care directives, they always try to abide by the wishes of patients. I am aware of some very complicated cases where there have been mixed views around individual patients but those have usually been worked through between the clinician and the families. But I will check.

MS HUNTER: A supplementary, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Hunter.

MS HUNTER: Minister, what are the current limitations of advance care plans in the ACT with regard to patients’ preference for how they wish to be treated when dying of a terminal illness?

MS GALLAGHER: I am sorry, just the end?

MS HUNTER: Of a terminal illness.

MS GALLAGHER: What are the limitations? There are some very complex issues here that do take up clinicians’ time and lawyers’ time. It really focuses on the issue

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