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Administration of the substance

Once a person has been assessed as eligible for voluntary assisted dying and has completed the request and assessment process, they may make an ‘administration decision’.

Administration of the voluntary assisted dying substance may occur through self-administration, where a person takes the substance themselves, or alternatively, with support from an eligible health practitioner (‘administering practitioner’) to administer the substance to the person.

The decision on how a person wishes to receive the voluntary assisted dying substance must be made in consultation with and on the advice of their coordinating practitioner. This is consistent with good medical practice. It also ensures the person can make an informed decision about the method of administration and maximises their autonomy to control the timing and circumstances of their death.

Self-administration is considered the default method of administration. It may occur in the person’s home. There is no requirement for the person’s coordinating practitioner or another health practitioner to be present, but they may choose to have a practitioner present to support them.

Practitioner administration may only be chosen if the coordinating practitioner advises the person that self-administration is inappropriate. This considers:

  • the person’s ability to self-administer
  • the person’s concerns about self-administering and
  • the method suitable for the person.

Additional safeguards are included where a person makes a practitioner administration decision:

  • the substance must be administered in the presence of a witness
  • the practitioner must be satisfied at the time of administration that the person has decision-making capacity and is acting voluntarily and without coercion
  • the practitioner must certify this is writing and provide a copy of the certified form to the Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board within two business days and
  • the witness must certify that the person appeared to be acting voluntarily and without coercion, and that the administering practitioner for the person administered the substance to the person in the presence of the witness.

Safe management of the substance

The law includes requirements and safeguards to ensure safe management of the voluntary assisted dying substance throughout the process. This includes requirements relating to prescription, supply, possession, storage, return and disposal of the substance.

The Statewide Pharmacy Service will closely support the person, their contact person, loved ones and practitioners to ensure those involved in the process are aware of their responsibilities.

Last updated: 17 September 2021