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In a joint statement, the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) and the Forum on End of Life in Ireland has today (Wednesday, 5th Feb)  welcomed the publication of the Draft General Scheme for Advance Healthcare Directives and the public consultation process that will take place over the next month.

The IHF and the Forum on End of Life in Ireland have encouraged the public to consider the draft legislation and to take part in the consultation process which will end on 7th March..

Sharon Foley, CEO of the IHF stated: “The introduction of this draft legislation is very welcome.  While Advance Healthcare Directives are recognised in common law, the introduction of a legal framework to cover Advance Healthcare Directives is an essential step in recognising the need to promote the autonomy of patients in relation to treatment choices and supporting the development of patient-centred care.”

Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness, Chair of the National Council of the Forum on End of Life in Ireland, commented: “The National Council will carefully review this draft legislation and will take part in the consultation process.  We believe that introducing legislation for Advance Healthcare Directives will promote the right of a patient to actively participate in their own healthcare and bring clarity for healthcare professionals as well as families on rights and responsibilities.”

The National Council of the Forum on End of Life in Ireland has developed an advance planned tool called Think Ahead which guides people in looking at and recording all aspects of end of life:  legal, economic, healthcare preferences and wishes for organ donation and funeral arrangements.  It also  provides for an Advance Healthcare Directive.