NSW approves VAD scheme
New South Wales has become Australia’s last state to legalise voluntary assisted dying.
NSW has made voluntary assisted dying (VAD) legal, with new legislation allowing for the health secretary to approve the administering of a chemical to cause a patient’s death.
Despite sustained rejection from groups including the Catholic Church, NSW managed to pass a bill in the last moments of a marathon session last week.
Victoria was the first state to pass legislation legalising VAD, followed by Western Australia. Laws in Tasmania, South Australia and Queensland will come into effect in the next two years.
Voluntary assisted dying is not legal in either the ACT or NT.
Reports say people have been travelling between states where voluntary assisted dying is legal, to get around commonwealth rules.
VAD in NSW will be available only to people diagnosed with at least one condition that is advanced, progressive, and will cause death, either within six months, or twelve months if the condition is neurodegenerative.
Patients must show decision-making capacity, including that they comprehend the implications of a voluntary assisted dying decision.
Patients must not be under duress and must have an ‘enduring’ request for VAD. They must also be either Australian citizens, permanent residents, or residents in Australia for at least three continuous years, and have lived in NSW for at least a year.
Patients must also be assessed as eligible by two medical practitioners.
More details are accessible here.