End of Life Information

Voluntary Assisted Dying Act

The Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2021 was passed in Queensland Parliament in September 2021. Currently, it is undergoing an implementation period and is scheduled for operation from 1 January 2023. 

The VAD Act allows for eligible Queensland residents to seek Voluntary Assisted Dying in circumstances relating to terminal illness and intolerable suffering. As per Queensland Health, 'The Act sets out a legal process for people who are suffering and dying from an advanced and progressive life-limiting condition the right to choose the timing and circumstances of their death.'

Read the VAD Act here.

More information is available on this VAD Queensland Health page.

 

End of Life and Advance Care

'In Queensland there are three ways you can record your choices for future health care':

  1. Advance Health Directive
  2. Enduring Power of Attorney - short form; long form
  3. Statement of Choices

End of Life and Advance Care planning are important aspects to managing health. Advance Care Planning Australia provides resources for people learning about advance care or wanting to prepare themselves for the future.

Other resources of interest to patients and medical practitioners include:

Queensland Health Site - Voluntary Assisted Dying


Queensland Voluntary Assisted Dying Handbook.

Voluntary Assisted Dying and using a carriage service

VAD AND THE LEGALITY OF USING A TELEPHONE OR INTERNET SERVICE: Although laws on VAD are a State responsibility, a hurdle to implementation has come from the Criminal Code Act 1995. This Act has led State governments to instruct health practitioners to avoid discussing or facilitating VAD via telephone or telehealth. Read the article by Katrine Del Villar, Elana Close, Rachel Hews and Qld Professors Lindy Willmott and Ben White.

Empowering older and frail people to make their own choices about end of life

Voluntary Assisted Dying in Australia's states and territories

Voluntary assisted dying in aged care: what you need to know

The July/August edition of Australian Aging Agenda provides a fantastic breakdown of VAD in Australia's states and territories. It also carries a useful factsheet about VAD and the implications for aged care.

It's Time To Give The ACT And NT Stronger Voices In Parliament

This article addresses the need to restore the ACT's and NT's democratic rights by ensuring they can consider legislation such as Voluntary Assisted Dying. Also covered is a history of self-governing in the territories and the importance of adequate representation.

Our Supporters

Doctors for Assisted Dying Choice

The Clem Jones Group

Christians Supporting Choice for Voluntary Assisted Dying

Go Gentle Australia

Reports

A legal framework for voluntary assisted dying in Queensland (4 page summary)

Voluntary Assisted Dying Draft Bill 2021

Queensland Law Reform Commission Report No. 79 (2021) A legal framework for
Voluntary Assisted Dying Report (Summary, 62 pages)

Queensland Law Reform Commission Report No. 79 (2021) A legal framework for
Voluntary Assisted Dying (Full Report, 888 pages)

Queensland Parliamentary Paper No. 5 – 56th Parliament (2020) Summary of the findings and recommendations from Report No. 34 on Voluntary Assisted Dying

Queensland Parliamentary Report No. 34 – 56th Parliament (2020) Voluntary Assisted Dying

Queensland Parliamentary Paper No. 4 – 56th Parliament (2020) Summary of the findings and recommendations from report No. 33 on aged care, end-of-life and palliative care

Queensland Parliamentary Report No. 33 – 56th Parliament (2020) Aged Care, End of Life and Palliative Care

My Life My Choice 2020 Queensland State Election Report

Research

American Association of Suicidology (2017) “Suicide is not the same as ‘Physician aid in dying’”

International

Dying with Dignity Canada - Resources for Clinicians

Helpful Resources and Information

The below notes include weblinks which contain excellent information

A quick summary of the three inquiries held prior to the VAD Act being passed on 16 September 2021

Qld Coroner’s Office provided a report to the Qld Parl Health committee inquiry into VAD, with 2016 & 2017 data

The $171 million increase in funding for Qld palliative care services

Now that VAD is legal, is VAD considered in Advanced Health Directives? (No, Advance Health Directives do not currently incorporate VAD)

Is it legal for a VAD-trained health professional to consult with a patient seeking VAD by "using a carriage service" i.e. computer/ telephone etc? In 2005 through the federal Criminal Code Amendment (Suicide Related Materials Offences) Act made it illegal to facilitate suicide by using a carriage service. How is it enforced? What happens now that VAD is legal? (This is a legal grey area. Multiple Attorneys General of states that have passed VAD, including Qld, have written to the fed govt asking for the fed law to be amended to provide legal certainty to jurisdictions that have legalised VAD)

Could the VAD Act be repealed or watered down in the future? (Yes, it could absolutely be repealed or watered down by a future govt. The Qld LNP party platform opposes VAD)

showing an average of 84 suicides annually by Qlders with a terminal or debilitating medical condition – see the attached document.

Who will be eligible to access VAD in Qld?:

https://www.qlrc.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/682038/QLRC-Flyer-4-page.pdf

https://www.health.qld.gov.au0/system-governance/legislation/voluntary-assisted-dying-act/eligibility

What safeguards apply to the VAD Act?

Is there additional mandatory training for health professionals who wish to be involved in provision of VAD services? (Yes, absolutely – a mandatory training course is currently being developed)

Can a health professional refuse to be involved in provision of VAD services? (Yes, absolutely, conscientious objection is allowed under the Act)

How does an eligible person apply to access VAD

When does the law take effect (answer - on 1 January 2023)

What is being done during the current "implementation period" prior to the law taking effect

The VAD Care Navigator Service will be a good point-of-contact for anyone wanting more information about VAD, or who wishes to find a VAD-trained doctor and to apply to access VAD.

A VAD Review Board is being established and they will examine all applications for VAD, and all cases where a person used VAD, to ensure that the law has worked as intended and that there has been no abuse of the law. The Victorian VAD Review Board has released multiple reports which confirm that the Vic law is working exactly as intended and that the law has not been abused.

A review of the VAD Act will be held three years after the law takes effect.

The excellent Qld Health VAD Act information webpage 

Submitted by Phil Browne, DWDQ Fraser Coast Coordinator.

Archived News

How QLD MPs Voted on Voluntary Assisted Dying

Advance Health Directives in Queensland

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