Community interest in Voluntary Assisted Dying finally came to fruition with the passing of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2022 by NSW Parliament on 19 May 2022.
NSW Health is now going through an implementation process aiming to bring the legislation into effect from 28 November 2023. This process will oversee and guide the establishment of the specific governance arrangements and processes as required by the law.
See a full overview of the Act and its requirements here.
Certain criteria need to be met by people wanting to access voluntary assisted dying (VAD):
- They must be an adult who is an Australian citizen, a permanent resident of Australia or have been resident in Australia for at least three continuous years.
- They must have been living in NSW for at least 12 months.
- They must have at least one disease, illness or medical condition that is advanced, progressive and will on the balance of probabilities, cause their death within six months (or within 12 months for neurodegenerative diseases like motor neurone disease), and is causing the person suffering that cannot be relieved in a way the person considers tolerable.
- They must have decision-making capacity in relation to voluntary assisted dying and be acting voluntarily.
- They must have the ability to make and communicate requests and decisions about voluntary assisted dying throughout the formal request process.
Medical Specialists providing Voluntary Assisted Dying have to hold specialist registration, general registration of 10 years of practice, approved mandatory training and cannot provide VAD to a family member.
There will be a NSW VAD Care navigator established to act as a primary point for contact of patients, families and clinicians.
In addition there will be VAD Board independent oversight and decision-making body.