Implementation of the Voluntary Assisted Dying program in South Australia: Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) in South Australia: The first 5 months

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) is a contentious topic within healthcare and can polarize views and opinions. VAD commenced in South Australia (SA) on the 31st January 2023 after an 18 month Implementation period which was overseen by a VAD Taskforce Board. Separate working groups included Care Pathways, Pharmacy, Clinical Guidelines, Education and Training and Community/Consumer Information. The members comprised Health Care Professionals, Lawyers and community members from a wide sector of interest groups, along with staff from the Department of Health and Wellbeing of South Australia, resulting in a respectful, robust and diligent approach from all.

This paper will present our learnings of the implementation process along with qualitative and quantitative data from our first 6 months of operation.

To date SA has a team of VAD Navigators who help guide patients through the complex process of VAD. They assist in coordinating the clinical assessments, processes and documentation required to be eligible for VAD. This multi-disciplinary team comprise Social Workers, Registered Nurses, and Occupational Therapists. Each of the Metropolitan Local Health Networks has a VAD Liaison Nurse, and the Rural regions have 2 Liaison Nurses. The Navigation team support the Doctors who have undertaken the compulsory training program and examination to provide assessment and support for those patients wishing to access VAD in South Australia. A team of pharmacists provide medication advice and ensure the safe delivery of the VAD medication to patients who have an authorized VAD permit.

The VAD Mandatory Medical Practitioner Training and examination program, along with just in time educational materials for all health care professionals were developed.

Despite a comprehensive plan for education around VAD, there remains a need for ongoing education for both the public and health professionals to ensure an understanding of the specific roles and differences around Palliative Care and VAD.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023
EventOceanic Palliative Care Conference - International Convention Centre, Sydney, Australia
Duration: 13 Sept 202315 Sept 2023


ConferenceOceanic Palliative Care Conference
Abbreviated title23OPCC

Bibliographical note

Poster presentation


  • Voluntary assisted dying
  • South Australia


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