Assisted Dying in Victoria

The Victoria Voluntary Assisted Dying Act is fairly similar to the End of Life Choice Act in NZ, which we vote on in a few weeks.

The latest six monthly report on the Victoria regime is worth reading. They note:

Feedback and information gathered over the past six months continue to highlight the compassion and relief Victoria’s voluntary assisted dying scheme is providing to terminally ill people, their friends and family.

Some key aspects:

  • compliance with the Act remains high – one application was deemed non-compliant with the law. This was due to an issue in the paperwork; it was not related to the eligibility of the applicant.
  • 348 people applied and 341 were found eligible at first assessment. 301 did a consulting assessment and 297 were found eligible.
  • There are 125 doctors active in providing assessment services and a further 300 registered for training
  • The average age of an applicant is 71
  • 55% of applicants are men
  • Loss of autonomy frequently cited as a reason for seeking an assisted death
  • 31% of those approved for assisted dying, died without assistance (ie before medication was dispensed or chose not to take it)
  • 78% of those approved had a malignancy (cancer) and 15% a neurodegenerative disease
  • The median time between first and last request is 19 days

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