Last November, Victoria passed the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act, becoming the first Australian State to legalise assisted dying. The Act comes into force on 19 June 2019. But how can a person lawfully access the regime?
This is a complex piece of legislation, with 143 sections and including 68 safeguards to prevent misuse. To access the regime, a person must be resident in Victoria for at leas12 months. The process starts with a request to a registered medical practitioner. If that medical practitioner accepts the request, he or she becomes the person’s co-ordinating medical practitioner and the process commences. This includes a consulting assessment to confirm the person’s eligibility. Written requests by the person must be made before the co-ordinating practitioner can request a “voluntary assisted dying permit”. Finally, the administration request must be made in the presence of a witness.
The Act has ramifications for medical professionals and their insurers. The requirements are complex and it may be that many practitioners will not be prepared to participate for fear of “getting it wrong”. There are also ramifications in personal injury payouts including catastrophic injury and long tail exposure.
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