N.S. resumes medically assisted dying referrals after backlog

Click to play video: 'Nova Scotia faces challenges keeping up with medically assisted dying'
Nova Scotia faces challenges keeping up with medically assisted dying
Tens of thousands of Canadians have chosen to end their lives on their own terms since the country's medical assistance in dying (MAID) program was introduced in 2016. But as Ross Lord reports, increasing demand has left at least one province struggling to provide the end of life service. – Oct 3, 2021

Nova Scotia is resuming Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) referrals after a temporary suspension that was put in place because of a “significant backlog.”

The hold on referrals was put in place in September and was slated to last 30 days.

In a news release, the program said it will be able to resume service one week earlier than planned, and will accept new referrals as of today.

Read more: N.S. puts temporary hold on medically assisted dying referrals due to ‘significant backlog’

“The temporary pause in service was necessary to ensure that people already awaiting an assessment could be seen in a timely manner,” the release noted.

“We appreciate the stress this delay may have caused for patients, families, and others involved in their care. We are pleased to announce that several new assessors have come forward, and that we are in the process of hiring a new full-time nurse practitioner to support the program.”

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Dr. Gord Gubitz, the medical director of MAID, thanked clinicians from across the province who “went above and beyond to help in the past few weeks” and added that the program is always looking for new clinicians to be involved.

MAID was made legal in Canada in June 2016, when federal legislation was passed that allows eligible Canadian adults to request the process.

To be eligible, people must be at least 18, have a “grievous and irremediable medical condition,” make a voluntary request and give informed consent.

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