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Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD)

Adventist HealthCare (AHCL) – which operates Sydney Adventist Hospital in Wahroonga, San Day Surgery Hornsby, San Radiology & Nuclear Medicine, SAH Pharmacy and ELIA Wellness – has the entrusted privilege of caring for people throughout the continuum of life; from their first breath until their last.

Those who are terminally ill or are reaching the end of their life are vulnerable and require the utmost compassion and care. This includes caring for their physical, emotional, social, cultural and spiritual needs, and providing comfort and alleviation of pain and suffering.

Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) legislation comes into effect in New South Wales on 28 November 2023. VAD is the term used in the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2022 (NSW) to refer to the administration of a Voluntary Assisted Dying Substance, and includes steps reasonably related to such administration. VAD applies to legislated processes that enable the administration of a controlled substance for the purpose of causing a person’s death. 

Voluntary Assisted Dying as outlined by NSW Health means an eligible person can ask for medical help to end their life. The person must be in the late stages of an advanced disease, illness or medical condition. They must also be experiencing suffering they find unbearable. ‘Voluntary’ means the choice must be the person’s own. The person must have decision-making capacity throughout the entire process to access voluntary assisted dying.

The law allows for healthcare facilities in NSW to choose whether or not to participate in the State’s Voluntary Assisted Dying. While Adventist HealthCare Ltd (AHCL) does not provide voluntary assisted dying services at any of its facilities, AHCL deeply respects each individual’s right to choose VAD.

As a faith-based organisation, AHCL’s ethos does not support measures which unnecessarily prolong life for those who are terminally ill, nor does AHCL support measures which hasten death. Therefore, AHCL does not knowingly provide VAD services, but honours patient choice and provides all support, information, referrals and transfers that are reasonably necessary for patients to exercise their legal right to access VAD. 

Patients seeking VAD will be treated with the utmost dignity and compassion. Their request will be responded to in a timely manner, and they will be empowered to participate in decisions about their care. AHCL respects the individual’s absolute right to choose end-of-life care that is appropriate for them. If a terminally ill patient in the care of one of AHCL’s facilities requests assistance with VAD matters, the hospital will provide support for the patient and every reasonable measure to help alleviate the underlying reasons for the request. Support options – as appropriate to the patient’s needs – may include social workers, palliative care, counselling/psychological care, spiritual care and VAD-care navigators. If the patient seeks VAD, the hospital will refer to a VAD-care navigator and/or a coordinating clinician outside AHCL to assist the patient with their request.

VAD navigators provide support to those with questions about VAD and for those wishing to seek access to VAD and, where appropriate, connect them with coordinating, consulting and administering practitioners. The NSW Health website has information on VAD-Care Navigator Service.

AHCL does not provide coordinating, consulting or administering VAD practitioners as we do not facilitate the administration of VAD within our facilities. However authorised VAD-care navigators may attend AHCL facilities to provide information and advice to patients seeking VAD support. AHCL honours the privacy of consultations with VAD navigators and external healthcare providers, and respects individuals’ wishes for end-of-life care. 

If an AHCL inpatient requests transfer to an external facility that provides VAD, the hospital will arrange transfer and, where appropriate, accompany the patient so they are not left alone during transfer to the patient’s VAD service provider of choice.

We acknowledge the suffering and deep anguish of those who face terminal illness. While patients remain in our care, we commit to upholding our core values of dignity, continuity, excellence and integrity that underpin our mission to care for the body, mind and spirit of our patients.

If you have questions about Voluntary Assisted Dying in your personal circumstances, we encourage you to speak with your doctor in the first instance. For more information about Voluntary Assisted Dying in New South Wales please visit