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An example of a locked box that contains a lethal substance for euthanasia patients (ABC News)

A New South Wales Government report on voluntary assisted dying has found 131 deaths have been linked with the service since its introduction. Source: ABC News.

VAD became available in NSW in November 2023, making it the last state to introduce the measure.

According to the report, 517 people made a request for VAD between November 28, 2023, and February 29, 2024, with 408 patients being approved for first assessment.

Of those 408, almost 90 per cent were over the age 60.

The report also notes that 246 patients were approved in the third and final stage, known as “substance authorisation application outcomes”. Of this group, 175 had a diagnosis of cancer.

Jenni Millbank, NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying Board chairperson, wrote in the report that “some people who receive a substance authority from the board may ultimately choose not to take the substance”.

The report also said there were 250 authorised VAD practitioners in the state.

Under the legislation, VAD is available for residents of the state over 18 who have an illness that will cause death in at least 12 months or is causing suffering that cannot be relieved. Patients are required to have capacity for decision making and be making the request voluntarily. It’s not legal for a family member or carer to request VAD on somebody’s behalf.

If a patient meets the required criteria, they are then required to submit three requests.

Critics and conscientious objectors of VAD have said palliative care is a worthwhile option for those at the end of their life, and that medical diagnoses can be incorrect.

While the report was welcomed by advocates for VAD rights, they also flagged concerns with the law, including possible barriers to access.


NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying Board releases first data since its introduction (By Sam Nichols, ABC News)