Victoria releases euthanasia figures

Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said the number “far exceeds our expectations” (ABC News)

The legalisation of euthanasia in Victoria allowed 52 terminally ill people to voluntarily end their life in the first six months of the scheme. Source: Herald Sun.

By Alex White and Kieran Rooney, Herald Sun

A report into the running of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board shows last year most confirmed deaths under the scheme came from self-administered medication.

Victoria became the first state in Australia to allow euthanasia on June 19 last year, with 135 people so far deemed eligible.

Terminally ill people must meet strict criteria for lethal drugs to be distributed and more than 365 medical practitioners have been registered for training to prepare for requests from patients. It was expected as many as 200 Victorians could make use of the laws each year.

The report revealed so far 166 people started the scheme, 66 had medication dispensed, and 19 withdrew from the program between June and December 2019.

All cases were compliant, however, the board has made some observations about the process and identified areas the scheme can be improved.

Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said the number of people choosing to die under the laws “far exceeds our expectations” and will likely continue to increase.

The board chair, Betty King, confirmed all the cases were compliant. “We have feedback in relation to each and every case,” she said. “Some (family members) find it traumatic, some find it a great relief.” She also said there was no evidence of family pressuring family members to begin the process.

FULL STORY

Report into assisted dying in Victoria shows 52 people have ended their life under new laws (Herald Sun)

RELATED COVERAGE

More than 130 Victorians apply to end their lives in first six months of state's assisted dying laws (ABC News)

First euthanasia figures released (The Australian

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