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Consultation 028 update

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February Messenger 2024, Standards of Practice | Posted February 15, 2024
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Thank you to everyone who took the time to review and provide feedback on Consultation 028, which included the Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID), Conscientious Objection and Informed Consent standards. CPSA received an abundance of feedback specific to Conscientious Objection and wanted to provide some additional information.

Our current standard on conscientious objection, which was last updated in 2016, states that a physician or physician assistant is responsible for ensuring timely access to “a regulated member who is willing to provide the medical treatment, service or information, or a resource that will provide accurate information about all available medical options.”

The draft updated standard used the term “effective referral”, which was initially added to support consistency with wording used in other jurisdictions across Canada. We understood that these words could convey essentially the same meaning as the section quoted above from our existing standard and didn’t perceive it as a changed requirement or expectation for physicians. We heard feedback from physicians, Albertans and other stakeholders very early on that this term was problematic. To be clear, CPSA respects the conscience rights of Alberta physicians and physician assistants, and at no point was there any intention to change the status quo with respect to physicians’ rights.

CPSA indicated that we heard the feedback and will be removing the term from the updated draft, but also noted some misinformation circulating that we were rescinding the standard. Please note the current standard is still in effect and the updated standard will go through our re-consultation process with those who provided feedback. Following the re-consultation, the updated standard will go to Council for approval in May.

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