Catholic hospitals, aged care facilities and community care operators are deeply disappointed that the Tasmanian Parliament has voted down an amendment that would have given them and their staff the right to not participate in a voluntary assisted dying scheme.
Catholic Health Australia and its members in Tasmania, Calvary Health Care and Southern Cross Care are asking the Parliament to reconsider their opposition.
Catholic providers of health and aged care recognise that assisted suicide is likely to become a reality in Tasmania and will not stand in the way of the scheme but are asking that their organisations are allowed to conscientiously object and not participate in the scheme. Between them both organisations deliver roughly a third of hospital and aged care beds on the island.
CHA, along with Calvary and Southern Cross Care, has made it very clear to the Parliament from the outset that their facilities will not assist or facilitate assisted suicide on their premises.
Jim Birch AM, Chair of Little Company of Mary Health Care (LCMHC), the owners of Calvary Health Care, said: “We have been operating in Tasmania for over 80 years and we are proud of our heritage, as are Tasmanians who rely on our compassionate care in ever increasing numbers.
“However, if we are to continue to operate into the future then we need some degree of business certainty including an assurance that our services are not forced by law to allow actions that go against our fundamental ethic of care. We appeal to the Parliament to reconsider its position.”
Stephen Shirley, chair of Southern Cross Care, said: “One of the only conclusions that a University of Tasmania review panel made was that no organisation or entity should be compelled to participate in or provide voluntary assisted dying.
“The Tasmanian Parliament should not compel people and organisations to participate in euthanasia if they don’t want to. The trauma inflicted on staff should they be forced to undertake assisted suicide and after care does not bear thinking about. They want the right to organisational non participation. It is only fair and just and I hope the Parliament will show some compassion to them.”