This page provides a plain-English overview of the legal processes involved in planning ahead, as well as links to local information. To get advice about your individual circumstances it is recommended that you consult with one of the agencies referred to below or a legal practitioner.
Who will the doctor ask to give consent for my medical treatment if I am not able to give my own consent?
- If you are not able to give your own consent for treatment, the Powers of Attorney Act 1998 and the Guardianship and Administration Act 2000 provide direction about who can make decisions on your behalf.
- Urgent treatment required to save your life can be provided without consent.
- For non-urgent treatment, a doctor would first consult any valid Advance Health Directive to see if it provided directions relevant to the current situation.
- If this was not the case, the doctor would seek consent from a guardian for healthcare matters appointed by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal or a person you have nominated in either an Enduring Power of Attorney for personal/health matters or in an Advance Health Directive.
- If there is nobody in these categories, the legislation gives the right to decide on your behalf to a person called your Statutory Health Attorney.
- This is the first available and culturally appropriate adult from the following:
- a spouse or de facto partner (as long as the relationship is close and continuing)
- a person who is responsible for your primary care (but is not a paid carer, although they may receive a carer’s pension)
- a close friend or relative (over the age of 18).
- If there was no one from this list suitable or available to make decisions for you, this role would pass to the Public Guardian.
- A Statutory Health Attorney can consent to most healthcare decisions on your behalf, including withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining measures.
Links to local resources
To view information about Statutory Health Attorney on the Office of the Public Guardian website, click here.
To download a factsheet about Statutory Health Attorney from the Office of the Public Guardian, click here.