College Updates Bylaws to Reflect
Federal Legislation on MAID
The College has updated the Health Professions Act (HPA) Bylaws to reflect federal legislation on medical assistance in dying (MAID) that passed on June 17, 2016. Prior to the enactment of Bill C-14, the College had worked quickly with the Ministry of Health to ensure there was a provincial framework on MAID for physicians and pharmacists, which included updated bylaws and changes to the Code of Ethics that addressed the right of conscientious objection.
As Bill C-14 was approved with amendments, the College has made additional changes to the HPA bylaws, specifically the standards, limits and conditions for MAID, to include nurse practitioners and other health care professionals. Under the federal and provincial frameworks, the role of a nurse practitioner may encompass the following:
determining the eligibility of the person requesting medical assistance in dying based on the criteria set-out in federal legislation, s.241.1 of the Criminal Code.
prescribing and/or administering the medical assistance in substances to a person, at their request, that causes their death,
prescribing and/or providing the medical assistance in dying substances to a person, at their request, so that they may self-administer the substance and in doing so cause their own death, and/or
aiding in the provision of medical assistance in dying by a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner
The federal and provincial frameworks also recognizes the role of other health care professionals in the MAID process, such as pharmacy technicians. Under the updated HPA Bylaws, pharmacists are now authorized to delegate preparation duties to a pharmacy technician for the purposes of MAID; dispensing remains limited to pharmacists.
In addition, the provincial government has passed a regulation which requires that all MAID deaths be reported to the BC Coroners Service. The role of the BC Coroners Service will be to ensure compliance with the federal and provincial laws and regulations, and also to gather information about MAID deaths in BC for aggregate reporting purposes.
Pharmacists who choose to participate in the MAID process are compelled to follow up with the prescriber (which now includes a nurse practitioner) within 48 hours of administration to confirm that the Medication Administration Record Form outlines what drugs were consumed and to ensure appropriate return of any unused drugs for disposal. Sample copies of the form are located on eServices.
Pharmacy professionals should also be aware that non-compliance to the College's standards, limits and conditions on MAID is considered a provincial offence.
For more information on MAID, please visit the College website: http://www.bcpharmacists.org/medical-assistance-dying