Voluntary Assisted Dying resources for health professionals
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 medical practitioners.
The End-of-Life Choices (Voluntary Assisted Dying) Act 2021 (the Act) imposes certain minimum obligations on all medical practitioners, including medical practitioners who have a conscientious objection to voluntary assisted dying. These include obligations such as:
- To provide information to patients as prescribed in the Act
- To provide a patient's medical records as prescribed in the Act
- To answer questions or produce documents as prescribed in the Act
Medical practitioners (and registered nurses) are not obliged to participate in the voluntary assisted dying process beyond the minimum obligations prescribed in the Act. They may refuse for reasons including:
- Having a conscientious objection
- Not having suitable qualifications or experience
- Not having successfully completed the Tasmanian Voluntary Assisted Dying Training
- Any other reason
Medical practitioners (and registered nurses) are not obliged to provide an explanation if they decline to participate in the voluntary assisted dying process beyond the minimum obligations prescribed in the Act.
Information for Medical Practitioners
The voluntary assisted dying process starts when a person makes a First Request to their medical practitioner to determine whether they are eligible to access voluntary assisted dying and ends with the supply and administration, or private self-administration of a VAD Substance to the person.
Tasmanian Voluntary Assisted Dying Training
If a medical practitioner (or registered nurse) chooses to be actively involved in the assisted dying process there are several requirements they must meet:
- They must be suitably qualified and experienced, and
- They must have successfully completed the Tasmanian Voluntary Assisted Dying Training.
Organ donation after voluntary assisted dying is legal and possible in clinically appropriate circumstances.
Health Service Establishments and Residential Aged Care Facilities
It is important that you are aware of the standards that must be met by your facility in relation to the implementation and management of voluntary assisted dying. It is recommended that you seek independent legal advice about your obligations under state and Australian Government legislation, and the various guidelines and standards applicable to your facility.
Even if your facility is not supportive of voluntary assisted dying occurring on-site, all staff must meet any applicable minimum obligations prescribed in the Act.
Medical certificates of cause of death and declarations of life extinct
Specific guidelines have been created to assist medical practitioners and others in completing medical certificates of cause of death and declarations of life extinct for people who have died following the administration or self-administration of a Voluntary Assisted Dying Substance pursuant to the End-of-Life Choices (Voluntary Assisted Dying) Act 2021.