End of life option available in WA from July

By Melissa Coade

May 31, 2021

Roger Cook
Roger Cook. (AAP Image/Richard Wainwright)

WA’s appointment of a five member board to monitor and advise on voluntary assisted dying laws will mean that from July 1 an end of life option will be available to eligible people in the state.

The oversight group for assisted dying in Western Australia will be chaired by aged care and palliative care expert Dr Scott Blackwell. The other board members comprise deputy chair Colin Holt, Dr Robert Edis, Maris Osman and Linda Savage. Board tenures will initially be for three years.

Health minister Roger Cook released a statement on Monday, declaring that the appointments were another significant step in WA’s ‘journey to introducing voluntary assisted dying’ in the eyes of the law. 

“The voluntary assisted dying board will play a crucial role in overseeing its introduction and implementation,” Cook said. 

“We are pleased to have members with such diverse experience and expertise as well as compassion and commitment to providing an additional choice to eligible Western Australians at the end of life.”

The board will report to the state government on quality and safety improvements related to end of life arrangements under voluntary assisted dying laws, as well as adherence to the legislation. 

“There has been so much excellent work from the implementation leadership team, chaired by Dr Blackwell, and its experts from a range of disciplines and backgrounds including medical, nursing, primary health, Aboriginal health and consumer experience,” the health minister said. 

“It has been a thorough process which is now on the cusp of introduction on July 1.”

Cook also lauded the efforts of the health department who saw the VAD bill, which was introduced in December 2019, into reality and for its leadership in the development of the laws. He described that the 18 months since the bill was tabled in parliament as ‘highly productive’.


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