Qld to begin work on assisted dying scheme

Historic voluntary assisted dying laws have passed Queensland's parliament after a marathon debate.
Historic voluntary assisted dying laws have passed Queensland's parliament after a marathon debate.

Queensland will begin a series of "complex clinical and administrative arrangements" to prepare a voluntary assisted dying scheme after a historic vote in the state parliament.

The passage of the bill was met by applause in the public gallery late on Thursday after a marathon debate taking much of the parliamentary week.

Preparing for the scheme's implementation will take place over the next 15 months, Health Minister Yvette D'Ath said.

"This includes establishing the Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board, a Statewide Care Navigator Service, Statewide Pharmacy Service, support systems for access by regional and remote communities and developing training, supporting guidelines and processes," she said.

The laws allow people suffering a disease, illness or medical condition that is advanced, progressive and terminal to access voluntary-assisted dying (VAD).

Their condition must be expected to cause death within a year, they must have decision-making capacity, and proceed without coercion.

Many MPs raised the issue of adequate palliative care services through the course of the debate, especially in regional areas.

"Will this government provide a guarantee that people will get access to quality integrated palliative care services wherever they live in Queensland, when they have a terminal diagnosis, and not just in the last few months of life," Liberal National Party MP Fiona Simpson said on Thursday.

Queensland is boosting palliative care funding by $171 million over five years, Deputy Premier Steven Miles said.

"Good palliative care starts the day a patient is diagnosed and will increase in intensity over time and as death approaches," he said.

"But for the very small number of people whose suffering cannot be eased, voluntary assisted dying should be available at that person's request.

Australian Associated Press