Implementation of voluntary assisted dying
The Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2021 (the Act) was passed in September 2021. It became available to eligible Queenslanders on 1 January 2023.
Voluntary assisted dying is an additional end-of-life choice that gives eligible people who are suffering and dying the option of asking for medical assistance to end their lives. There are strict eligibility criteria for accessing voluntary assisted dying.
The law respects the rights of healthcare workers to not provide voluntary assisted dying. Medical practitioners, healthcare workers and health services need to be aware of their rights, roles and responsibilities as detailed in the Act.
During the implementation period, Queensland Health worked to put in place the clinical and administrative arrangements needed to ensure that voluntary assisted dying is high quality, safe, accessible and compassionate.
A Queensland Health Voluntary Assisted Dying Implementation Taskforce was established to provide specialist knowledge, leadership and to guide implementation of voluntary assisted dying in Queensland. Subcommittees were also established to support implementation and provide overall direction and management across six workstreams.
The aims of implementation were to:
- Ensure voluntary assisted dying is implemented safely and effectively.
- Establish a Queensland Voluntary Assisted Dying Support Service (QVAD-Support) to support Queenslanders and health practitioners accessing voluntary assisted dying.
- Establish a Queensland Voluntary Assisted Dying Pharmacy Service (QVAD-Pharmacy) to manage the supply and disposal of the voluntary assisted dying substance.
- Set up the Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board to ensure appropriate governance and oversight.
- Develop a fit-for purpose ICT solution for use by health professionals and the Review Board.
- Develop guidelines and training to provide clarity and support for health professionals and providers.
- Conduct extensive clinical and community engagement to deliver a high quality, safe, accessible and compassionate scheme.
- Create awareness of voluntary assisted dying in Queensland and build a trusted reputation for voluntary assisted dying that supports people who choose to be involved and those who choose not to be.
Queensland Health acknowledges the significant contributions of all stakeholders who supported the implementation of voluntary assisted dying as part of the Implementation Taskforce, committees, working groups and forums. This includes doctors, nurses, pharmacists, allied health professionals, consumers and content experts from across Queensland. Queensland Health extends its sincere thanks to these contributors for generously providing their advice and feedback.
Their honesty and courage in sharing their experiences, hopes and insights have been invaluable in ensuring the best outcomes for Queenslanders. Thank you for helping to ensure voluntary assisted dying in Queensland is high quality, safe, accessible and compassionate.
Subscribe to receive updates on voluntary assisted dying in Queensland.
Watch the implementation webinars to find out more about the implementation of voluntary assisted dying in Queensland.