Voluntary Assisted Dying was passed in 2021. Why will it only be available in 2023?

Voluntary Assisted Dying was passed in September 2021 and will become available to the public on January 1, 2023. It is currently undergoing an implementation process, during which Queensland Health will undertake the following activities: 

"Queensland Health will manage implementation, including development of supporting guidelines and policies. This includes establishing:

  • the Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board and associated administrative support
  • the Statewide Care Navigator Service
  • the Statewide Pharmacy Service
  • the development of ICT [Information and Computer Technology] infrastructure
  • the development of training resources and clinical guidelines."

I support Voluntary Assisted Dying but I’m worried about vulnerable people being coerced

Dying with Dignity Queensland believes any legislation regarding Voluntary Assisted Dying must include safeguards for patients. These safeguards include:

  • Participants must be aged 18 or above
  • Eligibility will be limited to people with decision-making capacity
  • Participants must be diagnosed with an advanced and progressive, terminal, chronic, or neurodegenerative medical condition that cannot be alleviated in a manner acceptable to the person, and that the condition will cause death
  • Persons wanting to access Voluntary Assisted Dying must make two clear, unambiguous requests to two independent registered medical practitioners. 
  • Two independent registered medical practitioners with advanced qualifications must assess any person wishing to access the scheme.
  • A Review Body will be established to provide oversight
  • The scheme will be reviewed in three years from the date of proclamation

 What about the rights of our medical practitioners?

Dying with Dignity Queensland believes any legislation regarding Voluntary Assisted Dying must include safeguards for medical practitioners. These safeguards include:

  • Specialised training provided for medical practitioners
  • Medical practitioners to be allowed the right to conscientious objection, provided the rights of patients to access the scheme are also protected
  • Two independent medical practitioners must agree in their assessments of the person 
  • Any Voluntary Assisted Dying program will have rigorous oversight and governance systems for prescribing, dispensing and disposing of any medications
  • The scheme must protect practitioners from liability
  • The scheme must have thorough documentation and reporting requirements

Wouldn't a well-resourced and supported palliative care system support those with terminal, chronic and neurodegenerative medical conditions so we wouldn’t need Voluntary Assisted Dying.

No, medical evidence shows that Palliative Care cannot adequately address all suffering.

Medical evidence shows that just under fifteen percent of patients in Palliative Care across Australia experience ineffective symptom relief, as evidenced by the Palliative Care Outcome Collaboration Figures, collected by the Federal Health Department and published by the University of Woolongong. 

Dying with Dignity Queensland supports expanding and strengthening our Palliative Care system. Palliative Care is an integral part of the End of Life discussion.

We would like to see Voluntary Assisted Dying legislated to provide choice to Queenslanders who are terminally and chronically unwell when determining their End of Life journey.

Isn’t Voluntary Assisted Dying a form of suicide?

Voluntary Assisted Dying is about acknowledging a foreseeable death and allowing self-determination over End-of-Life circumstances – with dignity.

Those accessing Voluntary Assisted Dying do not necessarily want to die – it is a circumstance that has been thrust upon them. Voluntary Assisted Dying simply alleviates suffering, empowering the person to allow them die with dignity.

Each month on average, at least seven Queenslanders suffering from a terminal, chronic or degenerative condition commit suicide. Voluntary Assisted Dying would provide these people with a choice to die with dignity.