The Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016 comes into force on Monday, 12 March 2018.

The Act allows Victorians to plan ahead for medical treatment and ensure that their wishes are followed (and their values considered) in the event they are unable to make their own medical treatment decisions. It does so by giving us all the ability to make an Advanced Care Directive.

An Advanced Care Directive gives legally binding instructional directives consenting to or refusing medical treatment in the future, even if we don’t have the capacity to make those decisions at the time. It also allows us to make values directives which sets out our values and preferences for future medical treatment and ensures that they are to be considered by those making the medical treatment decisions for us if we lose the capacity to make those decision ourselves.

This new Act means that it will no longer be possible to appoint someone as a medical agent under an enduring medical power of attorney (but, don’t fret, any medical powers of attorney made before 12 March 2018 will still be valid). Instead, it allows us to appoint a medical treatment decision maker who will be the one to make decisions about our medical treatment if we lose the capacity to make the decision ourselves. That person is to be guided by the Advanced Care Directive.

It is recommended that you consider making an Advanced Care Directive at the same time as you review your Will and Powers of Attorney for financial and personal matters.

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