Geraldton’s St John of God Hospital not participating in voluntary assisted dying scheme

Phoebe PinGeraldton Guardian
St John of God Hospital Geraldton says it will not participate in the voluntary assisted dying scheme, but will not impede patients who want to access information about it.
Camera IconSt John of God Hospital Geraldton says it will not participate in the voluntary assisted dying scheme, but will not impede patients who want to access information about it. Credit: Getty Images/Science Photo Libra

St John of God Geraldton Hospital will not be participating in the voluntary assisted dying scheme, but will not “impede” patients from accessing information about the service, a spokesman says.

According to its position statement, St John of God Health Care recognises “life is sacred from conception until natural death” and hospitals model service delivery on the “healing mission of Jesus Christ”.

The statement says St John of God hospitals’ provision of high-quality palliative care and pastoral and chaplaincy services means patients can be comfortable as they near the end of their lives.

“We believe that comprehensive, excellent and compassionate end-of-life care that alleviates pain and other symptoms should be provided to all in need, so that no person need resort to contemplating assisted dying,” it said.

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St John of God Geraldton Hospital acting chief executive Jack Harding said this position extended to the local private health campus.

“St John of God Geraldton Hospital does not support, facilitate or provide voluntary assisted dying,” he said.

“We walk with our patients and families at the end of their lives and have a commitment to providing excellent and compassionate end-of-life care, delivered in a way that manages pain and other potentially distressing symptoms, and allows people to die in comfort and with dignity.”

While we do not assist our patients to end their lives, we respect the views and beliefs of all.

But Mr Harding said the hospital recognised some patients may seek to access voluntary assisted dying services from other providers.

“While we do not assist our patients to end their lives, we respect the views and beliefs of all, and we understand that patients or clients may wish to explore the option of voluntary assisted dying from another provider,” he said.

“Our commitment is to enter into open and sensitive discussions and ensure we do not impede a person from seeking information about voluntary assisted dying, respecting their legal right to do so.”

The Geraldton hospital has eight palliative care beds available for public and private patients in a dedicated hospice area, with Mr Harding saying St John of God Health Care endeavoured to continue to improve its services.

“We continually seek to enhance the service and in the past 12 months have invested in special air mattresses for pressure care management and bariatric equipment,” he said.

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