New federal rules on assisted dying harmful to patients, doctors: College of Physicians
Quebec doctors are warning that new federal regulations on reporting medically assisted deaths could hurt patients.
The Quebec College of Physicians said the new requirements add needless bureaucracy that could make doctors less likely to get involved in end of life procedures.
For the past three years, doctors in Quebec have been filing one provincial form, but as of Thursday, they’ll also be required to fill out a federal form which includes sensitive patient information, including social security numbers and postal codes.
Ottawa will also be gathering information on the physicians performing the procedures and those who don’t fill out the forms face two years in prison. The college called that punishment abusive and sends the wrong message.
One problem cited by the college is that the eligibility criteria for assisted death are different in federal and provincial law.
College president Alain Naud said the new rules present a danger to patients.
“It’s a major problem. By acting this way, in Quebec, it’s clear we’re leaving some patients to be left alone to their suffering,” he said. “We’re still seeing patients moving to Switzerland to seek medical assistance in dying.”
As of Wednesday, the College of Physicians is instructing its members not to fill out the federal form, saying Health Canada and provincial authorities are working on a compromise.