Voluntary Assisted Dying Implementation

The Department of Health had a dedicated project to ensure that voluntary assisted dying was implemented properly in Western Australia. It is important to make sure that the process is safe, appropriate and follows the law.

There were many aspects to making sure that Western Australia was ready for when voluntary assisted dying became legally available. The Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2019 outlines many forms and details, and the various processes that must be followed

The Department of Health established an Implementation Leadership Team that provided expert advice to the Department as well as overseeing, co-ordinating and facilitating the work required to prepare for voluntary assisted dying in Western Australia. 

As of 1 July 2021, Voluntary Assisted Dying is a choice available to eligible people at end of life.

Implementation Leadership Team

The Department of Health established an Implementation Leadership Team to provide expert advice to the Department as well as overseeing, co-ordinating and facilitating the work required to prepare for voluntary assisted dying in Western Australia.

The Implementation Leadership Team worked closely with key stakeholders to ensure that voluntary assisted dying is implemented safely and appropriately within the context of existing care options available to people at the end of life. 

Implementation Leadership Team Membership

Dr Scott Blackwell (Chairperson)

Dr Scott Blackwell is a General Practitioner with expertise in palliative and aged care. He is a former President of the Australian Medical Association (WA Branch) and a life member of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. Dr Blackwell was a member of the Ministerial Expert Panel on Voluntary Assisted Dying.

Ms Noreen Fynn (Deputy Chairperson)

Ms Noreen Fynn is a consumer representative with considerable experience in Western Australia in the carer, disability, aged care and mental health sectors. She has worked extensively with community and government organisations at both the state and federal level. She was previously a member of the Ministerial Expert Panel on Voluntary Assisted Dying.

Dr Elissa Campbell

Dr Elissa Campbell is a consultant geriatrician, palliative care specialist and the current President of Palliative Care WA. Dr Campbell was a member of the Ministerial Expert Panel on Voluntary Assisted Dying.

Ms Amanda Collins-Clinch

Ms Amanda Collins-Clinch is a Yamatji woman from the Badimaya and Amangu peoples of Western Australia. Currently she works at the Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia (AHCWA) as the Executive Manager of Workforce and Health Programs. Ms Collins-Clinch was previously the Deputy CEO of the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia. Ms Collins-Clinch is representing AHCWA on the Implementation Leadership Team.

Ms Margaret Denton

Ms Margaret Denton is the Chief Operating Officer of the WA Country Health Service. Her extensive experience in rural WA includes senior executive operational roles in aged and community care, population and Aboriginal health and acute services and clinical service provision as an Occupational Therapist.

Ms Stephanie Dowden

Ms Stephanie Dowden is the Director of NursePrac Australia, a company providing Nurse Practitioner-led health care for children and young people. As a nurse practitioner herself, Stephanie’s focus has been palliative care and pain management for children and young people. She is a past President of Palliative Care WA and has provided advice to related committees in WA and internationally. She is currently the Chair of the WA Chapter of Australian College of Nurse Practitioners and a National Board Member of the Australian College of Nurse Practitioners.

Assoc Prof Chris Etherton-Beer

Associate Professor Christopher Etherton-Beer is a Geriatric Medicine Physician and Clinical Pharmacologist. He is an Associate Professor in Geriatric Medicine at UWA, a medical Co-Director at the Royal Perth Bentley Group, chair of the WA Therapeutics Advisory Group and a member of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee. He is also a current member of the North Metropolitan Health Service Board, until 30 June 2020.

Mrs Chris Kane

Mrs Chris Kane is the General Manager, Strategy and Engagement for the WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA). She is a Board member of the Australian Hospitals and Healthcare Association, the Primary Care Curriculum Committee (Curtin Medical School) and a Primary Care Advisory Committee member of the Australian Commission on Safety Quality. Mrs Kane is representing WAPHA on the Implementation Leadership Team.

Dr Andrew Miller

Dr Andrew Miller is a Specialist Anaesthetist and is the current President of WA Branch of the Australian Medical Association. Dr Miller is representing the Australian Medical Association (WA Branch) on the Implementation Leadership Team.

Hon Dr Sally Talbot

Hon Dr Sally Talbot, MLC is a Member of the WA Parliament representing the South West Region having been elected to Parliament in 2005. Hon Dr Talbot has served on many Parliamentary Committees including as a member of the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on End of Life Choices which ran from Aug 2017 until Aug 2018.

Dr Peter Wallace

Dr Peter Wallace was a rural proceduralist General Practitioner in WA for 45 years prior to his retirement. This included involvement in both inpatient, at Murray District Hospital, and outpatient palliative care for 15 years. He was also a member of the Medical Board of Australia, spending the 10 years until 2018 as Chair of the Notifications Committee. Dr Wallace is representing the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners on the Implementation Leadership Team. 

Implementation resources

Webinar series – “Preparing for voluntary assisted dying"

The ILT hosted a series of webinars in partnership with Victorian service providers which gave an opportunity to hear their experiences and learnings. The guest presenters from Victoria discussed their experience of implementation of voluntary assisted dying including aspects such as: individual and service preparation approach, what worked well and other learnings. Speakers at each of the webinars are listed below.

19 November – Palliative Care providers

Led by ILT member Elissa Campbell
Alison Smith and Dr Becky Chapman – Bendigo Health (PDF 361KB)
Dr Greg Mewett – Grampians Regional Palliative Care Team

23 November – Hospital and related service providers

Led by ILT member Christopher Etherton-Beer
Eliza Armstrong and Suzie Hooper – Epworth Healthcare (PDF 2.3MB)
Dr Danielle Ko – Austin Health (PDF 896KB)
Dr Mark Boughey – St Vincent’s Hospital (PDF 1.3MB)

24 November – General Practitioners and Nurse Practitioners

Led by ILT member Chris Kane
Dr Deb Harley – General Practitioner, Victoria

25 November – Residential aged care providers

Led by ILT member Scott Blackwell
Dr Peter Lange – Geriatrician, Victoria (PDF 219KB)

Presentations

Fact sheets

Last reviewed: 01-07-2021
Produced by

Health Networks