CARE: Christian Action, Research and Education

For what you believe
Open menu Close menu

130 people have died in the first three months of new assisted suicide programme in NSW

Assisted Suicide
4 July 2024
Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia 28p229 Bram Harrison 8

In its first three months, more than 130 patients have died through a voluntary assisted dying (VAD) programme in NSW, Australia.

Since VAD was legalised in November 2023, 517 patients requested access, and 131 completed the process.

The NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying Board's interim report detailed that 408 patients underwent a first assessment between November 2023 and February 2024. Of these, 321 completed the second step of a consulting assessment, and 248 applied for substance authorisation.

Of those who completed the process and ended their lives, 30% self-administered the lethal substance.

Prof Jenni Millbank, the board chair, noted many patients who receive substance authority choose not to use it, finding comfort in having the option.

Of the 246 successful authorisations, 115 patients did not use it, and 29 died from other causes during the reporting period.

This raises questions over who might access the substance outside of the intended user if the substance goes unused.

The board meets twice weekly and sometimes more frequently for urgent cases to ensure eligible patients can access VAD promptly.

The NSW government passed VAD legislation in May 2022, limiting access to terminally ill patients expected to die within six or 12 months if suffering from a neurodegenerative condition.

The process requires assessment by two medical practitioners and offers patients the choice to self-administer the medication or have it administered by a doctor.

Closer to home, the debate about physician assisted suicide has been reignited with several organisations campaigning across the UK.

In Scotland, MSPs are considering legislation to allow doctors to administer lethal drugs to people with terminal conditions.

Receive news from CARE each week

By signing up stay in touch you agree to receive emails from CARE. You can change your mailing preferences at any time either by getting in touch with CARE, or through the links on any of our emails.

Recent news in Assisted Suicide


Assisted Suicide

Where assisted suicide is legal, it makes vulnerable people feel like a burden. CARE works to uphold laws that protect those people, and to assist them to live—not to commit suicide.

Find out more about the cause