Miss Katherine Waller1
1Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia
Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) was legalised in Western Australia (WA) in December 2019. The legislation, which comes into effect on 1 July 2021, requires that participating medical and nurse practitioners undertake mandatory training. The Australian Centre for Health Law Research was awarded the tender to develop this training in partnership with the WA Department of Health.
Mandatory training, which is also a feature of the Victorian VAD framework, was recommended by the WA Ministerial Expert Panel to promote ‘safe, effective and culturally appropriate’ competencies. Like the Victorian training, the WA program needed to comprehensively explain practitioners’ roles and obligations under the Act while building on participants’ existing clinical skills and experience. To balance these two requirements, we were guided by two core drafting principles: to provide comprehensive and rigorous training; and to provide clinically relevant and accessible training.
A key difference between the Victorian and WA frameworks is that the WA system allows nurse practitioners to participate in the formal VAD process. Although nurse practitioners can only fulfil the role of administering practitioner, they are still required to complete all aspects of the training. Recognising that the WA training is the first legislatively mandated VAD training for nurse practitioners, the project team consulted widely with nursing bodies to ensure that the training curriculum was suitable for this cohort of practitioners.
The presentation will outline the development of this mandatory training while discussing the consultation process and reporting on the key principles that informed both training content and structure.
Kat joined the Australian Centre for Health Law Research in 2019 and manages the Voluntary Assisted Dying training programs for both Victoria and Western Australia. Kat is also in the final year of her law degree.