- Guardianship and Administration Amendment (Medical Research) Bill 2020 to be introduced into State Parliament today
- Amendments to existing legislation to provide an avenue for research or novel treatment on people who do not have the capacity to consent
- Bill provides critical reforms which will enable doctors to join the global effort to trial new and emerging treatments for COVID-19
New laws to ensure all Western Australians have the opportunity to participate in world-leading research and experimental treatments targeted at combating COVID-19 will be introduced into State Parliament today.
Currently, WA legislation enables an enduring guardian, a guardian or a person responsible to make a decision regarding medical treatment, but this does not extend to participation in medical research.
This effectively denies critically ill, or otherwise incapacitated COVID-19 patients, access to cutting edge treatments which are on trial throughout the world.
The Bill will enable all Western Australians to access the drugs and treatments that are being tested in other countries to give them the best possible chance of recovery.
Comments attributed to Attorney General John Quigley:
"Currently, Western Australian legislation enables an enduring guardian, a guardian or a person responsible to make a decision regarding medical treatment, but this does not extend to participation in medical research.
"The new laws will effectively allow enduring guardians, guardians and next of kin to consent to medical research and, in emergency circumstances, enable an independent medical practitioner to authorise research without consent, subject to strict safeguards and stringent conditions to protect the person.
"The Bill is supported by significant safeguards to uphold the rights of the person, contains an avenue for review by the State Administrative Tribunal and requires a comprehensive statutory review of the amendments after two years."
Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook:
"The State Government is acting on the best medical advice in the country, but as a government we can do more to help our medical community, and those patients who are suffering, in their fight against COVID-19.
"If we are to provide the best health care possible for Western Australians, we must keep pace with the various treatment responses which could save our most vulnerable COVID-19 patients from serious harm or death.
"This Bill provides critical legislative amendments which will enable our doctors to join the global effort to trial new and emerging treatments for COVID-19.
"We need treatments that will slow or kill the novel coronavirus. We need to know what treatments are most effective so we can reduce the time patients spend in hospital, particularly in intensive care. This knowledge can only be gained via medical research, such as through clinical trials.
"It is essential that Parliament passes these important amendments to enable our doctors and hospitals to offer all Western Australian COVID-19 patients a chance to benefit from the trial therapies that are being used around the world."
Attorney General's office - 6552 6800
Health Minister's office - 6552 6500