The Bill Regarding End-of-Life Care : A Piece of Legislation, Both Important and Awaited, According to the FMSQ

Montreal, June 12, 2013 – The Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec (FMSQ) wishes to salute the tabling today by the Deputy Minister for Social Services and Youth Protection, Véronique Hivon, of Bill 52, An Act respecting end-of-life care, at the National Assembly of Québec. This is an important piece of legislation and one that has been long awaited by the population and by medical specialists.

"This is an excellent Bill; it is well written, considered, calm and respectful, and it fulfills the demands expressed by the vast majority of citizens and medical specialists. Moreover, we must salute and congratulate Minister Hivon who started by co-chairing the Select Committee on Dying with Dignity, which was set up by the National Assembly, and who, today, has tabled a Bill that constitutes a major landmark of this important undertaking. We wish to express our deepest gratitude to her," Dr Gaétan Barrette, president of the FMSQ, insisted on mentioning.

"Medical specialists are increasingly confronted with the varied demands of patients who find themselves at the end of their lives and a modus operandi needed to be established. In this regard, the various provisions contained in the Bill, in particular those dealing with the organization of end-of-life care, with medically-assisted dying and with anticipated medical guidelines, will allow us to draw up a framework for intervention," indicated Dr Barrette.

"We had clearly emphasized that the physician should always remain completely free to choose whether or not to go along with a patient's desired path. This proposed Bill supports us. It will not be possible to force a physician to accede to a request for medical assistance to die. Moreover, the values and the individual beliefs of the patient will prevail. This also is one of the major strengths of this Bill," concluded Dr Barrette.

Please note that the FMSQ was the first medical organization to officially make its views known by divulging, on October 13, 2009, the results of an opinion poll among its members. The FMSQ also took part in the activities of the Select Committee on Dying with Dignity, and filed a white paper on the subject.

It is possible to consult the FMSQ's white paper, its October 13, 2009 press release and the results of the survey by visiting the Federation's Internet portal.

The Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec represents more than 9,000 medical specialists certified in one of the 53 recognized medical specialties.