VAD coming to NSW

  • by Kate Bowman
  • July 13, 2023

New South Wales is the last state in Australia to pass legislation allowing Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD). This Act will allow eligible people in NSW the choice to access voluntary assisted dying from 28 November 2023.

Voluntary assisted dying means an eligible person can ask for medical help to end their life. The person must be in the late stages of an advanced disease, illness or medical condition. They must also be experiencing suffering they find unbearable.

If a person meets all the criteria and the steps set out in the law are followed, they can take or be given a voluntary assisted dying substance to bring about their death at a time they choose. The substance must be prescribed by a doctor who is eligible to provide voluntary assisted dying services.

Many people are still confused about the new laws and how they will work. People who work or volunteer in health settings, especially in palliative care are waiting for NSW Health to provide more details about how to implement the VAD framework.

NSW Health have created Voluntary Assisted Dying Care Navigator roles and are working with community, health, aged care, and other stakeholders to ensure voluntary assisted dying is safe, accessible and follows the law.

As the November implementation date approaches rapidly we are aware that people are getting more curious about VAD. Volunteers and Volunteer Managers might find clients turn to them with questions and don’t yet feel equipped to respond.

To help us all get a better understanding of VAD and what that means for people working and volunteering in the end of life space, we are pleased to announce Care Navigators from the Voluntary Assisted Dying Implementation team will be presenting at the NSW Palliative Care Volunteer Conference 2023 in October. After the VAD talk there will be the opportunity to ask questions.

One positive about being the last state to introduce VAD is that we gain the benefit of hearing about the experiences of people in other states. South Australia legalised VAD in January and a week ago published the story of Lily Thai, a 23 year old from Adelaide who has chosen to end her life after suffering a lengthy and painful battle with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.

Please click here to read Lily’s story.

For more information about the Palliative Care Volunteering Conference 2023 please click here.

For more information about VAD on the NSW Health site please click here.

Main picture: Ms Thai, 23, at Laurel Hospice with friend Annaliese Holland

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