Demand for voluntary assisted dying in Western Australia is three times greater than expected, new figures from the VAD Review Board reveal.
Around three terminally ill people a week are choosing medical assistance to die, the board in charge of the Western Australian process has revealed.
WA was the second Australian state to pass a voluntary assisted dying law in December 2019.
The first person to use the law did so soon after the law came into effect on 1 July last year. Some 50 legal assisted deaths have taken place since then.
Chair of the VAD Review Board Dr Scott Blackwell said demand had far exceeded expectations.
“Based on the Victorian experience, we thought something like 50 to 70 Western Australians (would die by) the voluntary assisted dying process in the first year,” he said during a forum reflecting on the first six months of the procedure and as reported by The West Australian newspaper.
“We are running at roughly about three times the expected volume.
“I think we’ve confirmed that voluntary assisted dying is a strong choice in Western Australia. And I think we’ve probably fulfilled the will of the people,” Dr Blackwell said.
More than 500 people had reached out to the VAD Statewide Care Navigator Service for advice and help since the law began operating.
Thirty-two per cent of patients had self-administered the substance, while the vast majority (68%) had requested it be administered by a doctor.
Alice Herring, one of WA's VAD Care Navigators, told the forum “demand is real” and “help is available” for anyone who is in the last stages of a terminal illness and suffering.
Read the full story in The West Australian