Professor Brian K Owler, chair of the Victorian Government's expert Ministerial Advisory Panel into Voluntary Assisted Dying, discussed the release of the panel's final report.
I'm Brian Owler, and I'm the chair of the Victorian Government's expert Ministerial Advisory Panel into Voluntary Assisted Dying.
Today, we've released our final report, which sets out a roadmap for a safe and compassionate voluntary assisted dying framework.
Today's report represents the culmination of our work over the past seven months. It builds on the Legal and Social Issues Parliamentary Committee's report, Inquiry into End of Life Choices.
Our work is part of broader end of life reforms including enhancements to palliative care services in Victoria and advance care directives.
The framework we are proposing provides a compassionate response for people who are dying and suffering, to choose the timing and manner of their death.
It is a conservative framework, that will ensure only those who are at the end of their lives are able to access Voluntary Assisted Dying.
In order to access Voluntary Assisted Dying a person must be diagnosed with an incurable disease, illness or medical condition that is advanced, progressive and will cause death.
Their condition must be expected to cause death within weeks or months - but no longer than 12 months - and it must be causing them suffering that cannot be relieved in a manner that the person deems tolerable.
In addition, only people who have decision-making capacity will be eligible. People must make the request and the decision for themselves and have capacity throughout the entire process.
They also must be over the age of 18 and they must live in Victoria.
This is a voluntary scheme, which means that the request must be initiated by the person themselves and cannot be made on their behalf or suggested to them by a health practitioner.
The person will need to be deemed eligible by two medical practitioners who have made independent assessments of the person.
The framework requires a person to make three requests, including a written request signed by independent witnesses, over a period of at least 10 days.
The framework contains 68 safeguards that will ensure that every request is voluntary.
The community can be assured that the process is safe and only those who are at the end of their lives will have access.
I am proud to present our report to the Government today and the Panel welcomes a respectful and robust debate about its recommendations.