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'Choosing the manner and time of death': What are Victoria's new VAD laws?

The mother-of-three has become the first person in Victoria to end her life under the state's new voluntary assisted dying laws.

In support of the concept of Dying with Dignity, Victoria became the first state in Australia, to implement the Voluntary Assisted Dying law in June this year. One person has already used the first permit to be issued under this legislation, to end their life.

On 19 June 2019, Victoria became the first Australian state to enact the Voluntary Assisted Dying law. Whilst some members of the community have expressed their reservations on moral or religious grounds, one family has already embraced the opportunity and gone through the option of VAD.

Dr Sandeep Bhagat, a palliative care specialist in Melbourne and a member of the VAD Committee at Peninsula Health, has been speaking passionately about focusing on 'living with dignity' - the principle on which palliative care givers operate. 

"I'm not registered as a doctor who can provide the choice of Voluntary Assisted Dying to patients, since my focus is to improve the quality of life of patients towards the end of their lives, and to support their families. My focus is on life," he told SBS Punjabi. 

Dr Sandeep Bhagat
Dr Sandeep Bhagat
SBS Punjabi

However, Dr Bhagat has been involved in the consultation process which led to the passage of the VAD law.

He says there are many safeguards built into the Victorian legislation, so that there is little room for misuse or margin of error.

In this interview, he shines a light on all the nuances of the new law, like:

  • Who is 'eligible' to opt for VAD?
  • Can family members request for it?
  • Can people travel from interstate to Victoria to avail of the VAD option?
  • What does the process involve?

To hear his interview, click on the audio link above.

To read more about this in Punjabi, click here to community information released by the Victorian Government. 

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