Voluntary Assisted Dying South Australia (VADSA) was formed to lobby, campaign and advocate in South Australia for the health benefits of legal voluntary assisted dying.
Voluntary Assisted Dying commenced in South Australia on January 31, 2023.
Voluntary Assisted Dying law is state legislation. All Australian states have passed voluntary assisted dying legislation. VAD is legal in all states except New South Wales, which commences in November 2023. The ACT is expected to table a VAD Bill later in 2023. It is unclear when the NT will introduce a VAD Bill.
Voluntary assisted dying is a legal end of life choice for a person who meets the eligibility criteria for voluntary assisted dying and includes both self administration of medication which will cause death, and if the person can no longer self administer, administration by an assisted dying trained doctor.
President: Frances Coombe
Vice Presidents: Dr Julia Anaf, Anne Bunning
Hon Secretary: Dr Frances Greenwood
Hon Treasurer: Jo Hayhurst
Membership Officer: Elice Herraman
Patrons: Em Prof John Willoughby
Phone 0421 305 684 email [email protected]
VADSA was established in 1983 as the South Australian Voluntary Euthanasia Society (SAVES) to campaign for legal voluntary euthanasia. VADSA adopted the broader term Voluntary Assisted Dying to describe its work towards achieving a legal end of life choice which covers both self administration as well as practitioner administration.
VADSA is a registered charity under the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission (ACNC) and has Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status with the Australian Tax Office.
VADSA holds regular public meetings at the Box Factory, Regent St South, Adelaide.
VADSA aim is to stop the suffering of people at the end of their life.
To support legal Voluntary Assisted Dying in South Australia.
South Australia’s Voluntary Assisted Dying Act (2021) allows a person to request medical assistance to die. Granting of the request is dependent on the person meeting the criteria specified in the legislation. Criteria in the South Australian law passed in 2021 include
- The person is over 18 years of age, an Australian citizen or permanent resident, and has been living in South Australia for 12 months at the time they make the first request
- The person has a disease, illness or medical condition which is incurable, advanced and is causing suffering which cannot be relieved in a manner the person finds tolerable
- Two independent doctors have assessed the person and confirmed they meet the eligibility criteria
- Two independent doctors have confirmed a prognosis of less than six months to live, or 12 months for a neurodegenerative condition
- The person has been informed of all options
- A cooling off period has been provided after the first request
- The person has made a first request, a written request and a final request
- The person’s written request has been witnessed by two independent witnesses
- The person has appointed a contact person (for self administration)
- A voluntary assisted dying permit has been issued, confirming all steps in the request process have been completed
VAD commenced in South Australia on January 31, 2023.
Following the successful passage of the VAD Act (2021) on June 24, 2021, and commencement of VAD on January 31, 2023, VADSA consulted with members and supporters on the future role of VADSA.
The following activities were identified and ranked as follows:
- Research equity of access – people with disability, ethnic communities, aged care
- Research Legislative amendments
- Support with witness program
- Peer support for family and friends (similar to Canada’s C14)
- Advocacy through monitoring implementation, identifying barriers, increasing community awareness
- Advocacy through social media – fb, twitter, LinkedIn
- Advocacy to achieve VAD in Medical School training
- Advocacy on dementia being a criteria for VAD
- Research evidence from other jurisdictions
- Research and document stories of experience with VAD
- Advocacy on need for legislative amendments – re dementia, mental health, residency, doctor initiating VAD discussion
- Support through information sessions in aged care, ethnic communities, disability, regional access
- Research for 2027 VAD Act Review
- Support through an up to date website
- Research on medical practitioner experience – portal, training, paperwork, support
- Advocacy with SA Health VAD unit
- VADSA Bulletin
- Advocacy on gap funding
VADSA will continue to deliver its aim of stopping suffering at the end of life and objective of supporting legal voluntary assisted dying through the following strategies:
Strategy 1: Community education and awareness
- Providing speakers for community or corporate groups, in aged care and educational institutions
- Public forums in the Box Factory, Regent St South, Adelaide twice each year, with additional forums as required
- Publication of the VADSA Bulletin twice a year with news and updates on the campaign
- Responding to and initiating interest from the media
- Managing an active social media VAD information service
- Supporting Advocacy Groups representing doctors, nurses, paramedics, people with disabilities, young people, christians and lawyers
- Providing display information for use in public spaces such as libraries, schools and community centres
- Maintaining an up to date website with resources and information to inform public debate.
Strategy 2: Support a responsive VAD service
- Establish and manage a witness program for people requiring witnesses for their written request
- Research equity of access for people who may wish to request VAD
- Liaison with SA Health VAD unit
- Establish a peer support program for family and friends of people who request and use VAD.
Strategy 3: Research legislative amendments
- Identify gaps in the legislation, such as access for people with dementia
- Monitor VAD Review Board reports
- Monitor social media, mainstream media and global commentary on VAD
- Monitor member and supporter inquiries
- Prepare for VAD Act review in 2027
- Maintain relationships with MPs
- Liaise with national and international VAD support organisations
- Participate in national debate on ensuring equity of access to VAD.