A range of safeguards are included to ensure only an eligible person can access the scheme and to protect vulnerable people from coercion, abuse and exploitation.
The law ensures that a person seeking access to voluntary assisted dying:
- has decision-making capacity in relation to voluntary assisted dying
- makes decisions that are voluntary and made without coercion
- makes informed choices about other end of life options, such as further treatment and palliative care
- demonstrates that the choice to request voluntary assisted dying is enduring.
The wide range of safeguards throughout the scheme include:
- strict eligibility criteria, including requirements for the person to be assessed as having decision-making capacity, and to be acting voluntarily and without coercion
- a staged request and assessment process
- a requirement to make an administration decision, in consultation with and on the advice of, the coordinating practitioner
- requirements relating to the qualifications and training of participating practitioners
- that health care workers are prohibited from initiating a discussion about voluntary assisted dying, unless they are a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner who discusses the person’s other treatment options and palliative care and treatment options
- independent oversight by a Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board
- record-keeping and reporting requirements
- penalties for non-compliance with the Act
- specific requirements for management of the voluntary assisted dying substance.
The law includes a range of offence provisions to capture unlawful conduct. The QLRC considered this would secure key safeguards in the scheme.
- unauthorised administration of a voluntary assisted dying substance
- inducing a person to request, or revoke a request for voluntary assisted dying
- inducing a person to self-administer a voluntary assisted dying substance
- giving the Review Board false or misleading information, making a false or misleading statement or falsifying documents
- recording or disclosing personal information
- failure to give a copy of a document or form to the Review Board
- failure by a contact person to return a voluntary assisted dying substance for disposal.