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South Australia marks one year of voluntary assisted dying

On the first anniversary of voluntary assisted dying in South Australia, the state’s independent oversight body says VAD is relieving suffering and providing choice at the end of life.

31 January 2024 marked one year since voluntary assisted dying (VAD) laws were enacted in South Australia.

The law, which parliament passed back in 2021 after 16 failed attempts over 26 years, largely mirrors legislation in Victoria and requires a person to have 6-12 months to live in order to be eligible.

Presiding Member of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board, Associate Professor Melanie Turner acknowledged the outstanding efforts of the health professionals involved, saying their contributions were instrumental in shaping end-of-life care in the state.

“Whilst we are continually working to improve the voluntary assisted dying pathway, feedback from patients, families and clinicians provides confidence that voluntary assisted dying in South Australia is being carried out in accordance with the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2021 and is providing relief of suffering and greater choice at end of life,” she said.

A/Prof Turner said that the Review Board and SA Health would continue to work to improve access and raise awareness of VAD for all eligible South Australians and paid tribute to the terminally ill people at the centre of the reform.

“We sincerely acknowledge those individuals who have chosen to access the voluntary assisted dying pathway and offer our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved.” 

Latest figures from the oversight body showed a steady increase in the number of VAD permits issued.

Dr Linda Swan, CEO of Go Gentle Australia, said the increase was in line with expectations.

“We know from other states that as the systems mature and public awareness grows, more people seek to access this compassionate end-of-life option.

Between 31 January 2023 and 30 January 2024, 195 people were issued with a VAD permit. 140 of those people died, 110 from VAD administration.



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