The Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill was passed in NSW Parliament today.
The law brings NSW in line with all other states in legalising voluntary assisted dying for people in the final stages of a terminal illness and those experiencing suffering that cannot be alleviated by palliative care.
The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) has welcomed today’s historic passage, which will extend choice to those suffering from terminal and incurable illnesses to die with dignity in the future.
NSWNMA General Secretary, Brett Holmes, said nurses and midwives had long supported a thorough and compassionate law being introduced in NSW.
“We commend the NSW politicians who listened and who have shown care and compassion on this important issue,” said Mr Holmes.
“As clinical health professionals, our members support and respect patients with an incurable illness having the ability to request and consent to access voluntary assisted dying.”
NSWNMA Assistant General Secretary, Shaye Candish, added the new legislation meant individual preferences and needs of terminally ill patients would be honoured and their decision-making capacity acknowledged.
“Following the passage of this bill today, terminally ill patients will be afforded the liberty to decide their care and treatment at the end of their life, as they should be. Importantly, their suffering will be finite,” said Ms Candish.
The new legislation will continue to ensure palliative care options are accessible.
To be eligible for voluntary assisted dying, the person must be 18 years or older and an Australian citizen. They must be likely to die from a disease within six months, or a year in the case of a neurodegenerative disease or condition, which is causing suffering that cannot be relieved.
The person must have the capacity to decide for themselves and must be acting voluntarily without pressure.
It is also required that two medical practitioners must assess their eligibility.