WA rolls out voluntary assisted dying

With the commencement of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act on 1 July, Western Australians suffering with a terminal illness will have more choice around their end of life care.

Ensuring professionals within the health industry and related care sectors are well informed and prepared for implementation has been crucial.

This task, led by the WA Department of Health’s Voluntary Assisted Dying Implementation Leadership Team (ILT), has involved meeting regularly with private and public health service providers to support their preparation for the introduction of voluntary assisted dying.

The ILT has also overseen the development of the Statewide Care Navigator and Pharmacy Services, preparation of educational resources, guidelines and fact sheets, consultation on models of care, developing participating practitioner guidelines and hosting a series of webinars.

WA Primary Health Alliance General Manager Strategy and Engagement, and member of the ILT, Chris Kane, said it is vital that health professionals know what their response would be, should the question of voluntary assisted dying arise.

“It is important that those who will be directly involved are clear about what they need to do to prepare and undertake their future roles and responsibilities,” she said.

“WA Primary Health Alliance will continue to work with professionals across the health industry, and related care sectors, to make sure we all understand our obligations and responsibilities under the WA Voluntary Assisted Dying legislation.”

While the ILT has focused on supporting medical practitioners, health professionals and health service providers through this complex process, it has remained person-centred throughout the implementation process.

“We owe it to the people of Western Australia to ensure that if they require access to voluntary assisted dying, the health professionals they approach are well informed, and able to provide appropriate, informed and compassionate advice as a part of end of life care,” Ms Kane said.

Read the latest ILT communique which provides key resources now available on the WA Department of Health website.

Find out more about health practitioner access to WA Voluntary Assisted Dying Approved Training.

View WA Primary Health Alliance’s position paper on voluntary assisted dying.

If reading the material in this story or thinking about end of life care has raised some issues regarding grief or bereavement or personal crisis, there are helplines and services available to provide support and counselling 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

  • Lifeline: Ring 13 11 14 for telephone support and counselling 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also visit Lifeline’s crisis support chat online, 7pm to midnight, seven days a week.
  • Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement: Ring (03) 9265 2100 or 1800 642 066 (free call, Australia-wide) for information about bereavement services and support.
  • Palliative Care WA: Ring 1800 573 299 (free call, WA) 9am to 5pm, seven days a week for information and support on advance care planning, palliative care, and grief and loss.