The Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017 passed though the Victorian Legislative Assembly on 29 November 2017.
The law will go through an 18 month period of implementation before individuals can request access to voluntary assisted dying. However now is the time to start to consider how this legislation will impact on your organisation as a provider of aged care, home care and disability services.
The voluntary assisted dying legislation aims to provide for and regulate access to voluntary assisted dying, it establishes the Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board, and makes consequential amendments to relevant legislation, like the Health Records Act 2001, the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 and the Medical Treatment Planning and Decision Act 2016.
Once in effect, the voluntary assisted dying legislation will apply to:
Approved providers will need to consider the implications of voluntary assisted dying on their operations including:
The person requesting access to voluntary assisted dying must store voluntary assisted dying substances in a locked box in accordance with prescribed specifications and they must appoint a ‘contact person’. There are formal requirements to appoint a contact person under the legislation. The person nominated to be a contact person must also accept the appointment. The contact person is responsible monitoring the voluntary assisted dying substance and for returning any unused or remaining voluntary assisted dying substances.
Voluntary assisted dying will only be available to and accessed by individual following the completion of a three step process which includes independent medical assessments.
The voluntary assisted dying legislation is not intended to, nor will it replace the need for, and the importance of, end of life discussions, Advance Care Planning and information sharing on the role of and importance of palliative care.
Sabine Phillips, Partner, Melbourne
Tamie Duncan-Bible, Associate, Melbourne