The study will investigate the views of Barwon Health staff and General Practitioners who work in the Western Victoria Primary Health Network (GPs from WVPHN), about the legalisation of Voluntary Assisted Dying.

On 29 November 2017, the Victorian Parliament passed the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017. This law comes into effect on 19 June 2019 and allows the legal prescription and administration of a lethal dose of medication, at the request of a mentally competent person at end of life, with the intention of ending their life, where strict eligibility and procedural requirements are all met in the view of two doctors.

The Victorian law allows for an 18-month implementation period to give health services time to plan and prepare for voluntary assisted dying.

For more information about this project or Voluntary Assisted Dying in Victoria please see the Explanatory Statement attached

What is the purpose of this research?

This project will explore the views of Barwon Health staff and GPs from WVPHN about the implementation of voluntary assisted dying. Our project aims to report on possible barriers to and enablers of the implementation of an assisted dying service and to collect information and insights to inform the development of practice guidelines, policies, and education and support services.

The details for the implementation of Assisted Dying in Victoria are currently under discussion and development by a number of working groups led by the Voluntary Assisted Dying Implementation Taskforce.

What does participation in this research involve?

You are invited to complete an anonymous online questionnaire asking about your views and attitudes towards the implementation of assisted dying.

There are no right or wrong answers – we are simply interested in your thoughts and views. The information collected in this study will be used to inform Barwon Health about whether and how we implement access to assisted dying and will contribute to the development of policies, guidelines, education and support for Barwon Health. The findings from this research may also assist GPs working in the WVPHN and contribute to the work of the Victorian Implementation Taskforce.

Who can participate?

The research team invites all Barwon Health staff to share their views, clinical and non-clinical, whether or not they could have direct or indirect involvement in assisted dying. General Practitioners who work in the Western Victoria Primary Health Network are also invited to complete the survey and to share their views.

Risks and benefits

Your involvement is voluntary. The online survey does not ask for or collect any identifying information.

There may be no direct benefit to people from participating in this research, other than the benefit of inviting reflection on the legalisation of assisted dying in Victoria and the opportunity to contribute to research that may inform future practice and policy.

We do not foresee any financial, psychological, social or physical risks associated with this study. However, we acknowledge that some people may find it uncomfortable or distressing to reflect on and answer questions about the end of life and voluntary assisted dying.

  • Barwon Health staff who wish to seek support as a result of participation in this research can contact our 24 hours GP contact number on 0408 127 147or the Barwon Health Staff Care Clinic on 03 4215 3220
  • GPs who wish to seek support as a result of participation in this research can contact OptumTM who provide counselling service free of charge for RACGP members on 1300 361 008 or 03 9658 0025.

This survey has 12 questions for all staff and an additional 4 - 5 questions for doctors. We estimate it will take 10 - 15 minutes to complete. The results of this survey will provide valuable information that is very important to Barwon Health and will assist the future planning. Your efforts to answer every questions are greatly acknowledged.

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