Victoria confirms access to medication for voluntary assisted dying

Paul Hayes

7/01/2019 12:04:37 PM

The state’s journey towards voluntary assisted dying took a significant step forward over the weekend.

Victoria’s acting Health Minister Martin Foley described the state’s voluntary assisted dying model as ‘the safest and most conservative in the world’.
Victoria’s acting Health Minister Martin Foley described the state’s voluntary assisted dying model as ‘the safest and most conservative in the world’.

The Victorian Government announced that Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital will assume responsibility for importing, preparing and dispensing all required drugs for its voluntary assisted dying scheme.
According to the government, placing the medication in a single point of access will ensure ‘medicines are kept and dispensed securely, that patients are provided clear information regarding administration, and ensure unused medications are returned and destroyed if not used, in line with the stringent controls’.
The news comes after questions were previously raised regarding what drugs would be used once the scheme is underway.
Pentobarbital and secobarbital, the preferred drugs in many countries that practise legal euthanasia, are not approved for human use in Australia. However, the medication designated for Australia is said to be already legal in this country.
‘We’ve made voluntary assisted dying legal because a person’s quality of death is part of their quality of life, and everyone deserves a dignified choice at the end of their lives,’ Victoria’s acting Health Minister Martin Foley said.
‘All of the guidelines are now in place for voluntary assisted dying to begin in June, and ensure people with a terminal illness who wish to end their lives with dignity can do so.
‘Having a single point of access for voluntary assisted dying is just one of the ways we’re making sure the model is the safest and most conservative in the world.’
Safeguards for Victoria’s voluntary assisted dying model:

  • Only adults with decision making capacity, who are suffering and have an incurable, advanced and progressive disease, illness or medical condition that is likely to cause death within six months (or 12 months for people with neurodegenerative conditions) can access the scheme.
  • A person may only access voluntary assisted dying if they meet all of the strict eligibility criteria, make three clear requests and have two independent medical assessments that determine they are eligible.
  • The request must always be initiated by the person themselves, with health practitioners who are treating the person, and raise the issue subject to unprofessional conduct investigations.
The Alfred pharmacy will report to the Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board, which is designed to oversee the operation of the laws and reporting, and ensure high safety standards are met.
People who wish to access Victoria’s voluntary assisted dying scheme will be eligible to do so from 19 June, pending approval of their request.

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David Amies   26/02/2019 3:26:08 AM

Pleased to note that Victoria is making sensible moves in this field. I am a member of the Clinicians' Advisory Council of Dying with Dignity in Canada, and can recommend its website as a source of information. (

SUSAN HAMPSHIRE   28/08/2019 3:12:08 PM

Can you advise if assisted dying can be used in the case of dementia?774351

John Albery   7/09/2019 6:59:03 AM

Having watched my father suffer from Alziemers / dementia and remain in a vegetative bed ridden state for the last 18 months of his life, I am now watching my elder sister suffer exactly the same fate.
An advanced care plan should allow for assisted dying in these and maybe my future case..