Now that voluntary assisted dying (VAD) is a choice for eligible people at the end-of-life, clinicians may be asked how patients may access it.
Both Hunter New England and the Central Coast have developed comprehensive HealthPathways to help to clarify the process and articulate referral pathways and services. Follow your local HealthPathway to find information such as eligibility, processes and legal obligations for all medical practitioners and other healthcare workers.
The HealthPathway also describes how to manage clear and unambiguous requests to access voluntary assisted dying made to a medical practitioner during a medical consultation, including legal obligations under the VAD Act.
The medical officer may accept or refuse the request depending on whether they are an NSW Authorised Practitioner, ineligible to act in that role, or a conscientious objector. Regardless of whether the medical officer accepts or refuses the request, they must update the patient’s medical record to include:
- that they received the request,
- if they have refused or accepted the request, and
- if they have provided the patient with the First Request Patient Information Guide (detailed information about the First Request Process is available via the HealthPathway.
The medical officer then must complete the First Request Form in the VAD Portal. Completing the First request form does not initiate a referral and the medical officer may still want to refer the patient to the Central Coast or HNELHD VAD Support Teams.
For referral details or contact details for the NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying Care Navigator Service see: