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Assisted dying is different from suicide: but federal laws conflate them and restrict access to telehealth

Michaela Estelle Okninski, University of Adelaide; Marc TrabskyLa Trobe University; and Neera BhatiaDeakin University

Voluntary assisted dying is now lawful in every Australian state and will soon begin in the Australian Capital Territory. However, it’s illegal to discuss it via telehealth. That means people who live in rural and remote areas, or those who can’t physically go to see a doctor, may not be able to access the scheme.

A federal private members bill, introduced to parliament last week, aims to change this. So what’s proposed and why is it needed?

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Implications of voluntary assisted dying for advance care planning

Now that it is legal and available in all Australian states, it is inevitable that voluntary assisted dying will be raised in end-of-life discussions. But are health professionals ready?

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New push to remove VAD telehealth restrictions

Go Gentle Australia has welcomed a private member's bill that seeks to allow the use of Telehealth in voluntary assisted dying.

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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.

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Research centre’s conclusions about suicide rates and voluntary assisted dying laws don’t stack up

Drawing conclusions about changes in suicide rates based on the impact of a single, isolated factor is inherently flawed, as the Anscombe Bioethics Centre should know. So why has it weighed in on the debate about voluntary assisted dying in Australia?

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Safety and Quality Commission recognises VAD in end-of-life care statement

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) has included voluntary assisted dying (VAD) in its statement on the essential elements of end-of-life care, following calls by Go Gentle Australia.

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Five reasons why telehealth must be part of VAD provision

The Federal Court has ruled that, in the eyes of the law, voluntary assisted dying (VAD) and suicide are one and the same. This means doctors who discuss VAD with a patient via telephone, email or telehealth are at risk of prosecution and a $313,000 fine.

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MEDIA RELEASE: 'Retrograde' Federal Court ruling on telehealth and voluntary assisted dying will lead to further suffering

  • Federal Court ruling is out of step with contemporary Australia

  • Terminally ill people, especially in rural, regional and remote areas, will suffer

  • Federal parliament must act to end discrimination against dying people

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Latest figures from South Australia show steady increase in VAD permits

The South Australian VAD oversight body has released its latest quarterly report showing a 20 percent increase in the number of VAD permits issued during the quarter.

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Voluntary assisted dying in NSW: What you need to know

From 28 November 2023, eligible terminally ill people in NSW will have access to voluntary assisted dying, marking a significant milestone for NSW residents and for Australia as a whole.

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