The Victorian Ministerial Advisory Panel on voluntary assisted dying today handed down its final report to the Government, comprising over 250 pages. Read the report by clicking here.
The Panel was composed of seven subject experts, with Professor Brian Owler as Chair and Professor Margaret O’Connor as Deputy Chair. It consulted extensively across Victoria, taking hundreds of submissions and appearances from relevant stakeholders, and reviewing legislation from other jurisdictions in which one form or other of assisted dying is permitted.
Key aspects of the recommendations are:
- The person must be 18 years or over; and
- Be ordinarily resident in Victoria and an Australian citizen or permanent resident; and
- Have decision-making capacity in relation to voluntary assisted dying; and
- Be diagnosed with an incurable disease, illness or medical condition that:
- is advanced, progressive and will cause death; and
- is expected to cause death within 12 months; and
- is causing suffering that cannot be relieved in a manner the person deems tolerable; and
- Doctors and other healthcare workers are not permitted to raise assisted dying — only to respond to formal patient requests.
- The person must make three formal requests, the second of which must be written and witnessed by two independent people.
- The person must make the request themselves. Nobody else is authorised to make the request, and the request cannot be made via an advance care directive.
- Ordinarily, the minimum timeframe between first request and opportunity to take the medication is ten days.
- The person must maintain decisional capacity at all three requests.
- Two doctors must reach independent assessments that the person qualifies.
- Only doctors who have completed specialist training for voluntary assisted dying may participate.
- Any healthcare worker may decline to participate for any reason, without penalty.
- A prescription dispensed for the purpose of voluntary assisted dying must be kept in a locked box and any unused portion returned to the pharmacy after death.
- The person must self-administer the medication; except if the person is unable to, a doctor may administer. An independent witness is required if the doctor administers.
- Establishment of an authority to receive assisted dying reports, to assess reports, and to refer unacceptable cases to disciplinary or prosecutorial authorities.
- For Parliament to review summary reports; twice in the first two years and annually thereafter; a formal review at five years.
(from Dying for Choice; visit their website here.)