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Voluntary Assisted Dying

In May 2022, the NSW Parliament passed the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2022Effective from Tuesday, 28 November 2023, eligible people will have the choice to access voluntary assisted dying. 

In preparation, NSW Health is establishing the following:

  • Voluntary Assisted Dying Care Navigator Service - supports patients, their families and carers by providing information about or wishing to seek access to voluntary assisted dying; provides training and support for GPs and service providers.
  • Voluntary Assisted Dying Pharmacy Service - responsible for the safe procurement, supply and disposal of voluntary assisted dying substances.
  • Voluntary Assisted Dying Board - consists of five members jointly appointed by the Minister for Health and Attorney General by Gazette notice; an independent body responsible for performing the functions and exercising the powers conferred upon it by the Act.

What is voluntary assisted dying?

Voluntary assisted dying allows eligible individuals to request medical help to end their life. If a person meets all the criteria and the steps set out under the Act, they can take or be given a voluntary assisted dying substance, prescribed by an authorised practitioner, to bring about their death at a time of their choosing.

Criteria for voluntary assisted dying

A person must:

  1. be at least 18 years old and an Australian citizen, permanent resident or a resident of Australia for at least three continuous years,
  2. have been living in NSW for at least 12 months,
  3. have at least one disease, illness, or medical condition that:
    1. is advanced and progressive;
    2. will, on the balance of probabilities, cause death within six months (or within 12 months for neurodegenerative diseases, such as motor neurone disease); and
    3. is causing the person suffering that cannot be relieved in a way that the person considers tolerable.
  4. have decision-making capacity,
  5. be acting voluntarily and without pressure or duress, and
  6. have an enduring request for access to voluntary assisted dying.

Voluntary assisted dying service providers in NSW

There are three roles for authorised practitioners:

  1. The coordinating practitioner conducts a first eligibility assessment and coordinates all steps of the voluntary assisted dying process.
  2. The consulting practitioner conducts a second eligibility assessment. 
  3. The administering practitioner administers the voluntary assisted dying substance only if the patient chooses a practitioner to administer it.

To learn more about how to become an authorised practitioner for voluntary assisted dying in NSW, visit the NSW Health Voluntary assisted dying - Information for health practitioners webpage.

To register to become an authorised practitioner, visit the NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying Portal.

Resources:

The Voluntary assisted dying awareness module for NSW healthcare workers is an optional training module, but is strongly recommended for all healthcare workers in NSW to ensure they are informed about voluntary assisted dying. The training takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.

The Obligations of healthcare workers fact sheet applies to all healthcare workers in NSW. 

The NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying Private Entity Guidance supports executives, managers and staff at private entities (including residential aged care homes) who are responsible for ensuring systems and processes are in place to comply with their obligations under the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2022.

The NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying Clinical Practice Handbook, outlines the voluntary assisted dying process in NSW and the roles and responsibilities of the health professionals supporting the person through the process. The handbook may also be a useful reference tool for other health professionals.

The Voluntary Assisted Dying HealthPathway provides information and resources about the voluntary assisted dying framework in NSW for health professionals in our region. As the implementation progresses, our HealthPathways team updates this page.

Go Gentle Australia is a not-for-profit organisation promoting choices at the end of life, including voluntary assisted dying with resources for health professionals.

Webinars and Conferences

Various webinars and conferences are being scheduled throughout the implementation period providing opportunities for health professionals to learn about voluntary assisted dying in NSW. GPs and other health professionals are encouraged to attend or watch the recordings from these events:

Wentworth Healthcare

RACGP, in partnership with NSW Health

NSW Health

Go Gentle and VADANZ (Voluntary Assisted Dying Australia & NZ)

Contact

For enquiries, contact the Nepean Blue Mountains LHD’s Voluntary Assisted Dying Implementation Team via email at [email protected].