Australia

How Vic's assisted dying laws will work

Victoria's new voluntary assisted dying scheme starts on Wednesday, the only laws of their kind in Australia. Here is an overview of how they will work.

VICTORIA'S VOLUNTARY ASSISTED DYING LAWS

WHO CAN APPLY?

* Adults with a progressive, advanced terminal illness and less than six months to live or within 12 months for neurodegenerative diseases

* Suffering must be deemed "intolerable"

* They must be of sound mind

* Must have lived in Victoria for at least 12 months and be an Australian citizen or permanent resident

HOW WILL IT WORK?

* Patients must make three, clear requests

* Patients must initiate discussion of assisted dying and no one else

* They will be assessed by two experienced doctors, including at least one specialist

* Those approved will be granted permits for lethal medications, which must be self-administered

* A permit will be given for doctors to administer medication only where the patient is physically unable

* Only chemists at The Alfred Hospital will be able to prepare the medication

* Doctors do not have to be present when patients administer medication

* The process to apply and receive medication will take at least 10 days

* Unused lethal medication must be returned within 15 days of death

* The Department of Health and Human Services will approve applications

* An independent review board will oversee each step of the process

* Death certificates will record "voluntary assisted dying"

* The coroner must be notified of assisted dying deaths

PENALTIES FOR MISUSE

* If someone breaches the self-administration permit, they face potential life imprisonment

* Anyone who induces a person to request assisted dying faces up to five years jail and substantial fines

* Doctors who suggest the assisted dying scheme to patients face a professional misconduct investigation

SOURCE: VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT

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