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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 9 Hansard (2 September) . . Page.. 2831 ..

MR OSBORNE (continuing):

There should be no coercion, patients should be encouraged to be frank, ask questions, and make up their own minds. Provide interpreters, and repeat information if required, and look for responses that indicate that information has not been understood.

Give the patient adequate time to make a decision, ask more questions, talk to others, think about the matter, etc.

Advise the patient that he or she can get another medical opinion, and assist the patient to seek it if requested.

Ensure that the patient understands:

the diagnosis, including the degree of uncertainty in this;

the prognosis and any degree of uncertainty in this;

the anticipated effects of not undergoing the proposed treatment;

the nature of the intervention, eg how invasive it is, whether it will be painful, how long it will take, how they will feel before, during and after it;

any significant long and short term physical, emotional, mental, social, sexual, or other outcome which may be associated with the proposed treatment;

the time involved in the treatment;

the costs involved in the treatment;

the availability of alternative treatments, the above information about them, and why they are not recommended.

This involves consideration of the patient's personality, beliefs, fears, values and cultural background.

While these guidelines do not specifically refer to either abortion or pictorial forms of information, their intent to provide comprehensive information is quite clear.

I do not necessarily agree with the stance of everyone on abortion; but, as I said, that debate was had last year. The debate today is about whether we want to hide information from women. To her credit, the Chief Minister, whose view on abortion is different from mine, has agreed with the High Court. I would like Mr Stanhope, for example, who was a lawyer, to offer some assistance to me on his interpretation of Rogers v. Whittaker.

Mr Stanhope: It not that specific, Ossie, I can tell you that now.

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