Challenge a medical treatment decision

Under the Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016, Victorians can appoint a medical treatment decision maker Definition A person who has the authority to make medical treatment decisions on behalf of another person. or support person Definition Someone who represents another person’s interests about medical treatment. They support a person to make, communicate and help bring about the person’s medical treatment decisions. to help them make decisions about their medical treatment.

You can apply to us to challenge the authority of a medical treatment decision maker or support person.

If you are a medical treatment decision maker or health practitioner, you can also seek advice or direction from us about someone’s medical treatment or their advance care directive Definition A document that sets out a person’s binding instructions or preferences and values about medical treatment. The directive is referred to when the person does not have the capacity to make decisions about their medical treatment. .

Who is a medical treatment decision maker?

An adult’s medical treatment decision maker is one of the following:

  • someone formally appointed in the role
  • their guardian Definition A person who makes personal lifestyle decisions on behalf of someone with a disability, including decisions about their living arrangements, work arrangements, medical treatment and access to people and services. (who was appointed by VCAT)
  • their medical agent or their guardian for medical treatment (as the term medical treatment decision maker was known before March 2018)
  • their spouse or domestic partner, primary carer, adult child, parent or adult sibling.

A child’s medical treatment decision maker is their parent, guardian or another person with parental responsibility.

Who is a support person?

You must be formally appointed to become someone’s support person.

Who can apply?

Most people can apply including relatives, guardians, health practitioners and social workers.

We may decide to reject an application if we do not believe the applicant Definition The person or organisation applying to VCAT. has an interest in the affairs of the person that a medical treatment decision is for.

What we can do

  • Confirm or cancel the appointment of a medical treatment decision maker or support person.
  • Review the cancellation of a medical treatment decision maker or support person appointment.
  • Uphold or set aside a medical treatment decision made by a medical treatment decision maker.
  • Change or limit the authority of a medical treatment decision maker.
  • Provide advice to a medical treatment decision maker or health practitioner about the medical treatment of a person.
  • Make any other decision.

What we cannot do

VCAT cannot appoint a medical treatment decision maker or support person on someone’s behalf.

For information on how to appoint someone, contact the Office of the Public Advocate

Documents you need to apply

  • a current medical report which addresses the person’s capacity to make medical treatment decisions – download our medical report template and give this to their medical practitioner.
  • a copy of the medical treatment decision maker appointment or medical enduring power of attorney (if your application is about a medical treatment decision maker appointment)
  • a copy of a support person appointment (if your application is about a support person appointment)
  • a copy of the cancellation of an appointment (if your application is about the cancellation of an appointment)
  • any other documentation to support your case.

Fees

There are no application or hearing Definition The time and place at which VCAT hears the parties argue their case and makes a decision. fees.

Do I need a lawyer or professional representative?

You do not need to have legal or other professional representation to appear at VCAT. If you wish to be represented by a lawyer or a professional advocate, usually you must ask for VCAT's permission.

Find free or low-cost legal services that may be able to assist you.

Need help with your application?

VCAT cannot give you legal advice. Seek legal help if you are unsure about your legal options. The following services may be able to help you:

Access and privacy

VCAT hearings and files are usually public.

VCAT has limited authority to restrict who can access cases and files but, in certain circumstances, you can apply for confidentiality. For more about applying for confidentiality.

Legislation that applies to this type of case