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Becoming an authorised voluntary assisted dying practitioner

Queensland Voluntary Assisted Dying Implementation Conference

In October 2022, Queensland Health hosted the Queensland Voluntary Assisted Dying Implementation Conference. Recordings of the conference are now available.

There are 3 key roles in Queensland’s voluntary assisted dying process—coordinating, consulting, and administering practitioners, which are collectively referred to as authorised voluntary assisted dying practitioners.

To enable safe, high-quality, compassionate access to voluntary assisted dying for Queenslanders, Queensland Health invites applications from eligible:

Before applying, it's strongly recommended prospective practitioners review the following:

There is no closing date for applications. Submit your application online.

Practitioner eligibility requirements

Practitioner eligibility to participate as an authorised voluntary assisted dying practitioner is defined in Part 5 of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2021 (the Act). Additional eligibility requirements are approved by the Director-General of Queensland Health under ss.161-163 of the Act.

More information is available in the Voluntary Assisted Dying Practitioner Authorisation Guideline (PDF 338KB).

Medical practitioner requirements

To be eligible to participate in voluntary assisted dying in Queensland as a coordinating, consulting or administering practitioner, a medical practitioner must:

  • hold specialist registration and have practised for at least 1 year as the holder of specialist registration, OR
  • hold general registration and have practised for at least 5 years as the holder of general registration, OR
  • hold specialist registration and have practised for at least 5 years as the holder of general registration.

Overseas trained specialist eligibility

An overseas trained specialist without general or specialist registration must hold:

  • limited registration with a sub-type of:
    • area of need – Specialist Pathway, OR
    • post graduate training or supervised practice – Specialist Pathway – Specialist Recognition, OR
  • provisional registration as an international medical graduate eligible for the competent authority pathway as an overseas-trained specialist.

They must also have:

  • completed at least 12 months working in a supervised position in Australia and met the approved supervised practice plan arrangements, AND
  • at least 5 years of experience practicing as a specialist overseas or in Australia, AND
  • undergone formal assessment by the relevant Australian college.

All medical practitioners

Additionally, all medical practitioners must:

  • have completed the approved training (also referred to as the voluntary assisted dying mandatory training)
  • have clinically practised twice the minimum hours per registration period[1] described in the Registration Standard: Recency of Practice published by the Medical Board of Australia. This must include a relevant scope of clinical practice, including experience in caring for people towards the end of life, patient assessment, and clinical decision-making; applicants who do not meet these criteria but can demonstrate comparable experience may be considered at the discretion of the Chief Medical Officer
  • declare, for the consideration of the Chief Medical Officer:
    • any notations, conditions, undertakings, or reprimands on their Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority registration record which make the practitioner unsuitable to undertake roles under the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2021 as determined by the Director-General (or delegate).
    • any current or previous substantiated claims, complaints or adverse findings made against them by a registration authority and/or ethical standards/regulatory complaints authority, or any other professional, disciplinary, or similar bodies including those outside Australia which make the practitioner unsuitable to undertake roles under the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2021 as determined by the Director-General (or delegate)
    • any physical or other medical conditions, including substance abuse, which may limit the medical practitioner’s ability to undertake the role of coordinating practitioner, consulting practitioner, or administering practitioner in accordance with the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2021
    • any disclosable criminal convictions i.e., convictions as an adult that form part of the medical practitioner’s criminal history and which have not been rehabilitated under the Criminal Law (Rehabilitation of Offenders) Act 1986
    • they have professional indemnity insurance, which may be through an employer.

Nursing requirements

Nurse practitioners

To be eligible to participate in voluntary assisted dying in Queensland as an administering practitioner, a nurse practitioner must:

  • have practiced as a nurse practitioner for at least 1 year
  • hold registration endorsement as a Nurse Practitioner in the Division/Registration Type - Registered Nurse (Division 1)

Registered nurses

To be eligible to participate in voluntary assisted dying in Queensland as an administering practitioner, a registered nurse must:

  • have practiced as registered nurse for at least 5 years
  • hold registration in the Division/Registration Type - Registered Nurse (Division 1).

All nurse practitioners and registered nurses

Additionally, all nurse practitioners and registered nurses must:

  • have completed the approved training (also referred to as the voluntary assisted dying mandatory training)
  • have clinically practised twice the minimum hours per registration period[2] described in the Registration Standard: Recency of Practice published by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. This must include a relevant scope of clinical practice, including experience in caring for people towards the end of life, patient assessment and clinical decision-making; applicants who do not meet these criteria but can demonstrate comparable experience may be considered at the discretion of the Chief Medical Officer
  • declare, for consideration by the Chief Medical Officer:
    • any notations, conditions, undertakings, or reprimands on their Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority (Ahpra) registration record which make the nurse practitioner or registered nurse unsuitable to undertake roles under the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2021 as determined by the Director-General (or delegate)
    • any current or previous substantiated claims, complaints or adverse findings made against them by a registration authority and/or ethical standards/regulatory complaints authority, or any other professional, disciplinary, or similar bodies including those outside Australia which make the practitioner unsuitable to undertake roles under the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2021 as determined by the Director-General (or delegate)
    • any physical or other medical conditions, including substance abuse, which may limit the nurse practitioner or registered nurse’s ability to undertake the role of administering practitioner in accordance with the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2021
    • any disclosable criminal convictions i.e., convictions as an adult that form part of the nurse practitioner or registered nurse’s criminal history and which have not been rehabilitated under the Criminal Law (Rehabilitation of Offenders) Act 1986
    • they have professional indemnity insurance, which may be through an employer.

Additional person-specific eligibility requirements

In addition to eligibility requirements to become an authorised voluntary assisted dying practitioner, the Act requires all coordinating, consulting, and administering practitioners to be independent of a person accessing voluntary assisted dying.

To be eligible to provide voluntary assisted dying services to a person, a coordinating, consulting, or administering practitioner must not:

  • be a family member of the person requesting access to voluntary assisted dying—including their spouse, parent, grandparent, sibling, child, or grandchild
  • be a person who, under Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island custom, is regarded as a person mentioned above in relation to the person requesting access to voluntary assisted dying
  • know or believe they are a beneficiary under a will of the person requesting access to voluntary assisted dying
  • know or believe they may otherwise benefit financially or in any other material way from the death of the person requesting access to voluntary assisted dying (other than receiving reasonable fees for the provision of services related to the coordinating, consulting, or administering practitioner role).

Queensland voluntary assisted dying mandatory training

On 4 October 2022 the Director-General, Queensland Health approved training in accordance with s.165 of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2021, known as the Queensland voluntary assisted dying mandatory training (VAD mandatory training).

The VAD mandatory training was developed by the Australian Centre for Health Law Research at the Queensland University of Technology in partnership with Queensland Health. It is delivered through iLearn, an online learning platform, and is available to eligible medical practitioners, nurse practitioners and registered nurses who have applied to become authorised VAD practitioners. The training includes 9 modules and an online assessment.

Webinar

Lunch and learn: How to become an authorised voluntary assisted dying practitioner

Further information

If you require more information, please contact Queensland Health’s Voluntary Assisted Dying Unit via email: vadimplementation@health.qld.gov.au.


1 Medical practitioners must have clinically practiced for a minimum of 8 weeks full-time equivalent in 12 months (304 hours), or 24 weeks full-time equivalent over 36 months (912 hours). Full-time equivalent is 38 hours per week. The maximum number of hours that can be counted per week is 38 hours.

2 For nurses the current standard states: 450 hours within the past 5 years, for both clinical and non-clinical practice roles for nurses and midwives.

Last updated: 29 November 2022

Queensland Voluntary Assisted Dying Handbook

The Queensland Voluntary Assisted Dying Handbook (QVAD Handbook) assists healthcare workers, health services and others to understand their roles and responsibilities, and supports compliance with the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2021 (the Act).

Read the Queensland Voluntary Assisted Dying Handbook (PDF 9268 kB).