Elaine Roberts

Physicians already have the right of conscientious objection to medical practises that conflict with their personal religious or ethical standards. That should not change. However, they have a duty NOT to abandon the patient. Patient rights and autonomy must be respected. Since you are removing "effective referral", the standard must include, "in the case of MAID, the patient must be informed of the Care Coordination Service at Alberta Health Services who can assist the patient navigate the process of applying for and implementing MAID. In the case of other procedures, referral to the appropriate agency must be made." I am not familiar with other agencies. The option of referring the patient directly to another physician who does participate in providing the procedure should remain. Physicians who object to a procedure on the grounds of conscientious objection should nevertheless be knowledgeable about that procedure so they can provide information to the patient who needs the information to make an informed decision. The standard includes the following: "established conventional medical options". I suggest: "medical options", deleting "established conventional" as unnecessary. The standard rightly says the physician must continue to provide care to the patient in the meantime. Section 1 f. states the physician must maintain a "referral plan.......". Does that mean she/he must decide what they are going to do when they are asked about a procedure to which they have a conscientious objection? And that he/she needs to update the plan when new information is available? I urge you to aim for clarity in the wording of the standard. You have made a good start by removing much of the unnecessary verbiage, especially in the preamble.

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