WA’s voluntary assisted dying bill gets second reading

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Proposed laws to allow terminally ill people to legally end their lives look increasingly likely to pass through WA’s Parliament, with the McGowan Government on the verge of having the numbers it needs in the Upper House.

The bill includes 102 safeguards and follows the largest community consultation ever undertaken by WA Health.

The proposed legislation is similar to the Victorian model, which saw Bendigo woman 61- year-old Kerry Robertson become the first person to be granted a permit under the VIC Voluntary Assisted Dying Act, and the first to use it.

Her two daughters said of their mother’s death: “Palliative care did their job as well as they could. But it had been a long battle. She was tired, the pain was intolerable and there was no quality of life left for her. “We were there with her; her favourite music was playing in the background and she was surrounded by love. She left this world with courage and grace, knowing how much she is loved.”

The WA Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill is the culmination of a ‘comprehensive’ consultation process that represents practical policy and ensures the specific needs of the WA community are addressed.

The proposed process requires three requests by the patient: two verbal with a written declaration in between, witnessed by two independent people.

A minimum of two independent medical assessments would need to be undertaken by two doctors, and a final review done by the co-ordinating doctor.

Additionally, the proposal includes a list of assessment measures and information included in the medical assessment phase.

Also, doctors willing to participate in the process should opt in and receive the necessary training. It’s recommended that GPs who choose not to participate should not be placed in the difficult position of responding to pressure from patients and their families, nor should those GPs impede access to VAD.

Debate on the bill is slated to begin in three weeks.

WA Premier, Mark McGowan said he will allow a conscience vote on the issue.