Interim report: Voluntary Assisted Dying in NSW

The NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying Board has released their first Interim report for the initial three months of voluntary assisted dying activity in NSW: from 28 November 2023 to 29 February 2024.


  • A total of 517 people made a first request to access voluntary assisted dying.
  • 408 patients (78.9% of the 517 who made a first request) had a first assessment, noting that only patients with an accepted first request can proceed to a first assessment. Of these, 373 (91.4%) were found eligible following their first assessment and 35 (8.6%) were found ineligible.
  • Of the 408 patients who had a first assessment, 142 (34.8%) lived in Greater Sydney, 265 (65.0%) lived in regional NSW and 1 (0.2%) lived outside of NSW.
  • 321 patients (62.1% of the 517 who made a first request) proceeded to a consulting assessment. Of these, 309 patients (96.3%) were found eligible following their consulting assessment and 12 patients (3.7%) were found ineligible.
  • 248 patients (48% of the 517 who made a first request) had a substance authorisation application considered by the Board. Of these, 246 applications (99.2%) were approved and 2 applications (0.8%) were refused.
  • Of the 246 patients who were granted a substance authority the majority had cancer as a primary diagnosis (175, 71.1%), followed by a neurodegenerative condition such as motor neurone disease (42, 17.1%), respiratory condition such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (17, 6.9%) and ‘other’ diagnosis (12, 4.9%).
  • The Board was notified of the death of 160 patients, with 131 being voluntary assisted dying deaths. 91 (56.9%) died from practitioner administration of the voluntary assisted dying substance, 40 (25.0%) died from self-administration of the voluntary assisted dying substance and 29 (18.1%) died from a cause other than voluntary assisted dying.
  • For this reporting period there were 250 authorised VAD practitioners in the state. Approximately 45% of authorised practitioners reported their primary practice location to be in Greater Sydney, and approximately 55% were in regional NSW.

Palliative Care NSW is currently considering the details of this report and any other additional information we would like to see in future reports and could advocate for. We are particularly interested in the location data, and will continue to advocate our position that those in regional and rural areas of NSW should not feel their only option is VAD, due to a lack of support services, and/or access to timely palliative care.

To access the Interim report by the NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying Board, please click HERE.