Under current Victorian law, you can refuse medical treatment (except for palliative care) for a current medical condition. A person appointed under an Enduring Power of Attorney (Medical Treatment) or an Appointment of Enduring Guardian can also refuse treatment on your behalf if you are incapacitated.
Recently the Victorian Law Reform Commission has tabled a report in Parliament which recommends extending this. The change would allow you (or your Attorney/Guardian) to refuse medical treatment for future conditions as well. Such directions would be binding on your doctor, although the doctor may refer you to another practitioner if they feel they cannot comply with the directions.
The proposal has received strong support from the health minister. If it comes into force, it will be a significant shift not only in the ability to plan for future medical care, but also for the role of Attorneys and Guardians.
For more information, please contact a member of our Estate Group on (03) 8600 8885.
Note: This update is a guide only and is not intended to constitute legal advice.