Resources

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 https://documents.parliament.qld.gov.au/committees/HEC/2021/vadb2021/timeline-VAD.pdf

  • Qld Coroner’s Office provided a report to the Qld Parl Health committee inquiry into VAD, with 2016 & 2017 data https://www.health.qld.gov.au/system-governance/legislation/voluntary-assisted-dying-act
  • The $171 million increase in funding for Qld palliative care services https://www.health.qld.gov.au/system-governance/strategic-direction/improving-service/palliative-care-investment
  • 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  • Could the VAD Act be repealed or watered down in the future? (Yes, it could absolutely be repealed or watered down by a future govt.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.
  • NSW Parliament is currently (Nov. 2021) debating the NSW VAD Bill, and if this passes, every Australian state will then have legalised VAD. A federal law still prohibits the ACT and NT from legislating for VAD. New Zealand has also legalised VAD.
  • 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 and https://www.health.qld.gov.au0/system-governance/legislation/voluntary-assisted-dying-act/eligibility
  • What safeguards apply to the VAD Act https://www.health.qld.gov.au/system-governance/legislation/voluntary-assisted-dying-act/safeguards
  • 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 https://www.health.qld.gov.au/system-governance/legislation/voluntary-assisted-dying-act
  • 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 https://www.health.qld.gov.au/system-governance/legislation/voluntary-assisted-dying-act/implementation
  • 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.

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