Minister Sonia Bélanger questions the reasons for the increase in requests for medical assistance in dying in Quebec last year. The administration of end-of-life care to 16 people who did not meet “all the criteria of the law” requires all the more explanations, according to her.
The Commission on End-of-Life Care released its most recent report on Thursday on the administration of medical assistance in dying (MAID) in Quebec. We learn that the number of people who used it in 2022-2023 increased by 42% compared to the previous year. In addition, 15% more doctors administered it in 2022-2023 than in 2021-2022.
“We know that there is a great openness in Quebec regarding this,” agreed the Minister for Health and Seniors on Thursday, after tabling the report in the House. “However, I want to understand the reasons why in Quebec there are more requests. »
Faced with this trend, the elected representative of the Coalition Avenir Québec demanded an analysis of these figures by a “research team”. ” I am not worried. However, I think that, given the number of requests, I think it is important,” she said in the press scrum.
In its report, the Commission on End-of-Life Care also notes that, last year, 16 requests for MAID were made by people who did not meet the criteria defined by law. “Among the marketing authorizations deemed non-compliant […]we observe […] an increase in the number for whom there was an absence of serious and incurable illness,” we write. “Although this number is minimal, it requires increased vigilance. »
Minister Sonia Bélanger is therefore asking the College of Physicians of Quebec to explain these cases, which represent 0.5% of medical aid-in-dying procedures in 2022-2023. “Faced with this situation, I expect the College of Physicians to make the necessary interventions and follow-ups with the doctors concerned,” she said Thursday.
Other increases to be expected?
The Minister responsible for Seniors agrees that the expansion of MAID earlier this year could have significant impacts on the number of requests. No precise analysis has been carried out on this subject. “Clearly, we expected that by broadening the criteria, there would be [une augmentation] “, she agreed.
“My goal is not for it to constantly increase every year,” she added. My goal is that the law that was adopted can be respected. »
Mme Bélanger assures that the research team she commissioned will have to “look” at the potential repercussions of the new law.
The new legislation on MAID will make advance requests legal and will allow Quebecers who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s to request assisted dying care before their cognitive abilities deteriorate. It will also make people affected by a “serious physical impairment leading to significant and persistent disabilities” eligible for such care.
Quebec has given itself a two-year period to implement a process for advance requests in the public health network.
With Alexandre Robillard