What is Voluntary Assisted Dying?
Voluntary assisted dying is a process that enables a person who is suffering from a terminal medical condition to legally access a substance to end their life, with support and assistance from registered health practitioners.
The person can choose to take the substance themselves or have it administered to them by, or with help from, a medical practitioner or registered nurse.
Voluntary assisted dying in Tasmania is regulated by the End-of-Life Choices (Voluntary Assisted Dying) Act 2021 (the Act). The Act identifies when a person in Tasmania is eligible to access voluntary assisted dying and sets out the steps in the voluntary assisted dying process. It also establishes the Voluntary Assisted Dying Commission.
A person is eligible to access voluntary assisted dying in Tasmania if they meet all the eligibility criteria. These relate to age, residency, medical requirements, voluntariness, and decision-making capacity.
The voluntary assisted dying process has a number of formal steps, with medical practitioners determining eligibility at each point. At any of the formal steps, the person will become ineligible if they lose capacity to make the decision, or if the medical practitioner believes they are not acting voluntarily.
To be actively involved in the voluntary assisted dying process, a person’s medical practitioner (or registered nurse) must be suitably qualified and experienced. They must also complete the Tasmanian Voluntary Assisted Dying Training.
Medical practitioners (and registered nurses) are not obliged to participate in the voluntary assisted dying process. They may refuse because they have a conscientious objection to voluntary assisted dying training, because they are not suitably qualified and experienced, because they have not completed the Tasmanian Voluntary Assisted Dying Training, or for any other reason. They do not need to explain why they refuse to participate.