Voluntary Assisted Dying laws come into effect in Victoria from 19 June, 2019. The new laws will enable people at end of life who are suffering and who meet strict eligibility criteria to request access to voluntary assisted dying.
What is Voluntary Assisted Dying?
Voluntary assisted dying (VAD) refers to administering a medication for the purpose of causing death in accordance with the steps and process set out in law.
VAD must be voluntary and initiated by the person themselves. It will usually be self-administered. Only those who are already dying from an incurable, advanced and progressive disease, illness or medical condition will be able to access voluntary assisted dying.
Further details are available on the Victorian Government’s Health website.
The Voluntary Assisted Dying Act
Victoria is the first state in Australia to pass voluntary assisted dying laws.
The Victoria Parliament passed the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 in November 2017 to provide a safe legal framework for people who are suffering and dying to choose the manner and timing of their death.
Resources for Health Professionals
The patient-doctor relationship is central in the discussions and planning around voluntary assisted dying. This professional support assists a person facing serious and terminal illness to make his or her own informed decisions and choices.
While health professionals are not required to participate in voluntary assisted dying, a person may make a request to any general practitioner.
The Victorian Health Association (VHA) is developing a model of care for health services to support implementation of the voluntary assisted dying laws including resources outlining the requirements of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017. The VHCA is also available to help organisations plan their approach to participation in VAD.
More information is available from the VHA website.
You can access a series of webinars on:
- initial discussion
- capacity to make decisions
- identifying coercion
- planning for administration
- discussing ineligiblity.
For other information and fact sheets: Information for health practitioners and services
A series of information sessions is available for clinicians in western Victoria to learn more about their roles and responsibilities under the new VAD laws. The sessions are available for GPs, Specialists, GP Registrars, Practice Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, Practice managers and staff, Allied Health Professionals and Medical Students.