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Statement on the new federal bill on assisted death

New Brunswick’s doctors are pleased to see that the new federal bill on assisted death takes into account the recommendations and concerns of physicians. The new bill provides essential framework for determining eligibility for assisted death and defines grievous and irremediable medical conditions. It also describes important safeguards to protect vulnerable patients.

The province’s doctors are committed to providing the best care possible to patients. This involves taking into account the patient’s desires regarding their treatment. For some patients, physician-assisted death may be their choice. Others may choose palliative care, and we are pleased to see that assisted death will be accompanied by a stronger palliative care strategy. In addition to respecting a patient’s right to choose, we are pleased to see that the bill also respects the personal convictions of health care providers.

Going forward, we urge the Province to support the recommendations described in this bill. It provides a strong base on which to develop the service in New Brunswick, and thoughtfully balances the needs of patients and physicians. We would welcome the opportunity to share our thoughts with the Province on this matter.

John Whelan, MD FRCPC
President, New Brunswick Medical Society