4 October 2016

Victoria’s Medical Treatment Planning Decisions Bill 2016 proposes legislative changes regarding patients making advanced health treatment decisions. The proposed legislative amendments indicate that all health patients will be able to make advanced decisions about all forms of medical treatment they want (and don’t want) when they are not in a position of ‘capacity’. These decisions can either be an ‘instructional’ directive or a ‘values’ directive.

Wellways will be giving feedback to the Victorian Government about the Bill, which says very little specifically about mental health treatments.

The Bill only specifically mentions the strength and application of mental health directives in regards to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Amendments to the Victorian Mental Health Act 2014 are indicated, which will mean that parents’ advance care directives about ECT must be taken into account. This is a significant and important change, bearing in mind that it is quite unclear as to whether or not this is the only change.

Our explanatory memorandum about the Bill and the proposed changes can be read here

Our response to the Victorian Government will take into consideration the changes the Bill proposes, whether the proposals about advance care directives go far enough, whether there are other changes to mental health legislation that should be included in the Bill, and other recommendations made by Wellways advocacy members.