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Voluntary Assisted Dying

Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) refers to a legal system where doctors aid a person to die at a time of their own choosing. In other parts of the world, medical practices similar to VAD are known by other terms including physician-assisted suicide, active voluntary euthanasia, physician-assisted death, and medical assistance in dying (MAiD). In Australia, VAD is an end of life option currently available only in the state of Victoria, however Western Australia has passed voluntary assisted dying legislation, with VAD anticipated to be available from mid-2021.

Unlike other medical options for the relief of pain and other symptoms that may be available to patients at the end of life, the purpose of VAD is to actively end the life of a person.

Who is eligible for voluntary assisted dying?

To access VAD in Victoria, an adult patient (aged 18 years or more) must be assessed by at least two medical practitioners and must meet a number of eligibility criteria. Three requests for VAD must be made by each person, and a terminal diagnosis must be in place.

In brief, a patient must be diagnosed with a disease, illness, or medical condition that is assessed to be incurable, advanced, and progressive, and predicted to cause the patient’s death within no more than six months, or no more than 12 months for those with a neurodegenerative diagnosis. The disease, illness, or medical condition must be causing suffering that cannot be relieved in a way the person considered tolerable. The patient must also be assessed to have decision-making capacity in relation to VAD, meaning they must be able to understand, retain, and weigh information about VAD, and communicate their decision. A patient must also meet citizenship and residency requirements.

It is important to be aware that accessing voluntary assisted dying may require considerable planning and time. Patients considering voluntary assisted dying as a possible end of life option should discuss this with their medical practitioner. Voluntary assisted dying is not a ‘right’ in Victoria. Not all health services (e.g. hospitals, general practitioners) or health practitioners (doctors and other health care providers) will participate in providing voluntary assisted dying-related services.

For further information about the voluntary assisted dying process see:

Community and consumer information about voluntary assisted dying:

General information about voluntary assisted dying:

Information for people considering voluntary assisted dying:

Supporting your family member or friend through the voluntary assisted dying process:

A number of voluntary assisted dying resources are also available in a variety of community languages:

Victoria has also established a ‘Voluntary Assisted Dying Care Navigator Service’ (available during business hours) which may be able to provide assistance and support:

Phone: (03) 8559 5823

Mobile: 0436 848 344

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For information about voluntary assisted dying in Western Australia, please see:

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