VAD to commence in SA from January 31, 2023

Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) will commence in South Australia on January 31, 2023. From that date, South Australians with an illness or medical condition with a prognosis of less than six months, or 12 months for a neurodegenerative disease, will be able to ask their doctor for an assisted death.

Each person will need to meet the eligibility criteria, be assessed by two doctors as eligible, and have decision making capacity right up until the day the pharmacists deliver the VAD drug to them.

A doctor or health practitioner is not permitted to mention VAD to a patient; the person with the illness or medical condition must first request information about VAD before a doctor or health practitioner can discuss it.

Anyone with an illness or medical condition who thinks they may wish to access VAD is advised to talk to their medical team - their GP, their specialist, any consultants involved in their care - and ask whether they will support them with their request for an assisted death. A medical practitioner must engage in the VAD training program before they are eligible to undertake a VAD assessment (approximately six hours online). If none of the medical team is prepared to support the request, Care Navigators can provide advice on VAD trained medical practitioners who may be able to carry out the assessments.

More information on eligibility criteria is available here.

The Voluntary Assisted Review Board will review all deaths.

The VAD Review Board has been appointed by the Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Hon Chris Picton, MP.

The VAD Review Board Presiding Officer is Dr Mel Turner (pictured above), a psychiatrist with experience on Boards in the health sector.

The eight member VAD Review Board will meet monthly to review data and make recommendations for the management of VAD. The four main functions and areas for review are: communication, training, data, access.

The Presiding Officer is available to provide information sessions as required.

The VAD Review Board will provide quarterly reports online and an annual report to Parliament.

Further information on the eight members of the Board is available here.