Deaths by assisted suicide nearly doubled in Victoria’s second year of experimenting with State-sponsored assisted suicide, with 172 such deaths in 2020/21 compared to 110 in 2019/20. Deaths by lethal injection also increased 45% from 20 to 29.

The 201 deaths by State prescribed lethal poison in 2020/21 already far exceeds the annual rate of “100 to 150 deaths” which Premier Dan Andrews predicted it would stabilise at after several years.

Deaths by prescribed lethal poison now represent over 0.5% of all deaths in Victoria. It took Oregon twenty-one years to reach that rate.

The State Wide Pharmacy Services rushes lethal poisons to Victorians with a State issued permit to suicide

Professor Haydn Walters said:

Bizarrely, the Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board ‘continues to encourage people to initiate conversations about voluntary assisted dying [assisted suicide and euthanasia] early after being given a terminal diagnosis. 

This is an extraordinarily biased position to take for what should be a neutral oversight body.

There is no mandated requirement that the person needs to talk things through with a specialist palliative care physician, in spite of overwhelming evidence that for almost all people with a life-limiting illness this is now a highly effective approach to end-of-life care. This provides the vast majority with a painless and comfortable end. Patients and their families are being denied serious consideration of this specialist treatment.

Dr John Daffy said:

There are instances of problems with the so-called safeguards in the legislation, including relatives doing the referring and driving the process. The Report notes that 35% of contacts to the Statewide “Care” Navigators were from “family or friends” ; this should be a matter of concern!

Other problems include oncologists introducing the idea even at an early clinical stage; patients being given lethal drugs that take many hours to work but with no medical care or relative support during this stressful vigil; GPs who know the patient well not being involved at any stage, so that they can support the family left behind.

Where is the forensic analysis of case histories and outcomes from family and GP? No searching for problems or poor medical practice! 

The Review Board seems focused on form filling and box ticking, not on protecting Victorians from wrongful deaths following misdiagnosis or coercion.

The Australian Care Alliance stands with the majority of doctors in Australia who do not agree with legalised euthanasia and assistance to suicide as it offends their concept of what being a doctor is all about: advocating for the very best care for patients, optimising their quality of life and their personal human dignity, and never, never deliberately killing them. Those small numbers of doctors who have become involved are extreme outliers to the traditions and culture of medicine.

There is neither quality of life nor dignity involved in suicide. This is why suicide has always been regarded as a tragedy, with large amounts of money spent in its prevention. The Victorian Government has abandoned the goal of suicide prevention for all in favour of State sponsored suicide permits and State funded delivery of lethal poisons for some Victorians.

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Australian Care Alliance