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Voluntary Assisted Dying available in South Australia from this week

06 Feb 2023 12:56 PM | EOLC Admin (Administrator)

A crowd of people sit outside South Australia parliament house to support voluntary assisted dying. They hold a large sign that reads out 'compassion'

The Voluntary Assisted Dying Act will take effect from Tuesday 31 January 2023, allowing people who are terminally ill and suffering intolerably to ask their doctor for medical assistance to hasten their death.

If you want to access voluntary assisted dying (VAD), your first port of call is the VAD Care Navigator Service in SA. Phone them to speak to a Care Coordinator, trained to provide information about VAD. They can support you through the application process, which can be complicated. They also provide support for regional, remote and rural areas.

The SA government has also released this helpful booklet.

Go Gentle's CEO Dr Linda Swan welcomed the new law:

We are pleased South Australia has become the fifth state to allow voluntary assisted dying for its citizens suffering with terminal illness. This is a much-needed choice that will bring relief, comfort and reassurance to people at the end of life.

Who can apply for VAD?
To use South Australia's law, a person must be:

  • Diagnosed with an incurable disease, illness or medical condition that is advanced, progressive and will cause death within 6 months (or 12 months if you have a neurodegenerative condition)
  • Mentally competent to make decisions about VAD
  • Acting freely and without coercion
  • Aged 18+
  • Able to meet residency requirements
  • Approved by two doctors and have made three separate requests for VAD

To find out more, visit the SA Health VAD page.

Why have we had to wait?
The law passed the South Australian Parliament in June 2021. However, there has been an 'implementation period' before the law takes effect so medical staff could be trained and systems set up.

What happens now?
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and are considering VAD, it is important to speak to your doctor about your wishes and contact the 
VAD Care Navigator Service if you need support.

Remember - to avoid stress and delays, start the process early. VAD is not an emergency procedure. Experience from other states shows it can take several weeks, on average, to complete the application.

Finally, thank you!
This law would never have passed without the impressive community advocacy from individuals, families and doctors who fought for this reform.

Our deepest gratitude also goes to the members of the SA Parliament who took such care to place decisions back in the hands of dying people.

Last but not least, thank you to each and every one of you who took the time to write to your MPs, bravely share your stories, sign petitions and attend vigils up and down SA. It made all the difference.

If you have any questions, please do get in touch.

The team at Go Gentle Australia

Contact us

027 573 8085

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