Advice for medical agents
The law sets out the role and responsibilities of people appointed under a medical enduring power of attorney.
The medical enduring power of attorney only takes effect if, and when, the person who made the appointment is unable to make decisions for themselves due to accident or illness resulting in incapacity.
For more information about capacity, go to When a patient cannot consent to treatment.
The medical agent's powers
The medical agent has powers to:
- consent to medical treatment (if the medical agent thinks it is in the best interests of the patient to do so)
- refuse medical treatment.
The medical agent can only make decisions about medical and dental treatment. The powers of the agent are set out in the Medical Treatment Act 1988 and the Guardianship and Administration Act 1986 and cannot be changed.
If the medical agent encounters any conflict of interest or has any concerns, they can ask the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for advice.
If the medical agent no longer wishes to accept the appointment they should communicate this to the person who appointed them. If the person has capacity, they can make other arrangements if they wish.
For information about the role of medical agents see the 'When a patient cannot consent to treatment' and 'Refusal of treatment' pages on this website.