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Safeguards

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.

Offences

The law includes a range of offence provisions to capture unlawful conduct. The QLRC considered this would secure key safeguards in the scheme.

Offences include:

  • 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.
Last updated: 17 September 2021