Health Victoria's voluntary assisted dying now in effect

Victoria’s voluntary assisted dying now in effect

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Voluntary euthanasia is now legal in Victoria since it was passed on 29 November 2017 as the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017.

The new law provides patients entitlement to quality end of life care, which relieves pain and suffering, and provides compassionate support to family, friends and carers.

“Today, Victoria becomes the first state to legalise voluntary assisted dying. This is about giving people who are suffering intolerably from an incurable disease a voluntary, compassionate choice over the manner of their death,” Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos said.

From 19 June 2019, Victorians at the end of life who are suffering and who meet strict eligibility criteria will be able to request access to voluntary assisted dying.

The law came into effect following an 18-month implementation period to give health services time to plan and prepare for voluntary assisted dying.

Victoria is the first state in Australia to pass voluntary assisted dying laws. The Act provides a safe legal framework for people who are suffering and dying to choose the manner and timing of their death.

“This is the most conservative model of its kind in the world, with 68 individual safeguards in place,” Minister Mikakos said.

“My thoughts today are with those who have campaigned for this for many years. Your bravery will change lives,” Mikakos added.

What is voluntary assisted dying?

Voluntary assisted dying means that a person in the late stages of advanced disease can take a medication prescribed by a doctor that will bring about their death at a time they choose. This offers an additional option for those considered eligible to allow a person to choose to die sooner than otherwise anticipated.

The new law allows a person to self-administer a prescribed lethal substance with or without the presence of a doctor.

If a person is physically unable to self-administer, the legislation allows a medical practitioner to administer the substance in a way most appropriate for the patient.

Who is eligible for voluntary assisted dying?

To be eligible fo voluntary assisted dying, a person must:

  • be in the late stages of advanced disease and expected to die within weeks or months, but not more than six months (or 12 months if you have a neurodegenerative disease, such as motor neurone disease).
  • be experiencing suffering, which he/she considers unacceptable.
  • have the ability to make and communicate an informed decision about voluntary assisted dying.
  • be making a voluntary, continuing and fully informed decision about voluntary assisted dying.
  • be an adult, 18 years old or over.
  • be an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
  • live in Victoria and have lived in Victoria for the last 12 months.

A range of resources is available under the community and consumer information and health practitioners and services information sections.

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