Participating doctors' perspectives on the regulation of voluntary assisted dying in Victoria: a qualitative study

Cameron J McLaren and Greg Mewett
Med J Aust 2022; 216 (4): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.51419
Published online: 7 March 2022

In reply: In their letter to the Editor,1 Harris and Cigolini make several points that call for correction. We echo concerns regarding the high practitioner caseload and encourage more doctors to complete voluntary assisted dying (VAD) training. Victorian legislation has been interpreted to require one assessing doctor to be a specialist in the patient’s medical condition. Few specialists completed VAD training in the early stages, which led to concentration of cases among these doctors. We applaud these doctors for their commitment to patients’ rights.

  • 1 Monash University, Melbourne, VIC
  • 2 Monash Health, Melbourne, VIC
  • 3 Grampians Region Palliative Care Team, Ballarat Health Services, Ballarat, VIC


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

  • 1. Harris MT, Cigolini MC. Participating doctors’ perspectives on the regulation of voluntary assisted dying in Victoria: a qualitative study [letter]. Med J Aust 2021; 216: 209.
  • 2. Kelly BJ, Burnett PC, Pelusi D, et al. Association between clinician factors and a patient’s wish to hasten death: terminally ill cancer patients and their doctors. Psychosomatics 2004; 45: 311–318.
  • 3. Dion S, Wiebe E, Kelly M. Quality of care with telemedicine for medical assistance in dying eligibility assessments: a mixed‐methods study. CMAJ Open 2019; 7: E721–729.
  • 4. Oliver P, Jonquiere R, Wilson M, McLaren C. Providing legal assisted dying and euthanasia services in a global pandemic: provider experiences and lessons for the future. World Federation of Right to Die Societies, 31 Jan 2021.‐content/uploads/2021/02/Report‐PAM‐Survey‐FINAL‐.pdf (viewed Sep 2021).
  • 5. Palliative Care Australia. Experience internationally of the legalisation of assisted dying on the palliative care sector: final report. 28 Oct 2018. Aspex Consulting, 2018. (viewed Sep 2021).
  • 6. Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration. Patient outcomes in palliative care: Victoria, January to June 2021. August 2021. (viewed Aug 2021).


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