Position statements

St John of God Health Care position statement on voluntary assisted dying


St John of God Health Care position statement on assisted suicide

Response to voluntary assisted dying

St John of God Health Care is committed to excellence in end of life care, demonstrated through our palliative care, pastoral and support care services.  We do not provide services related to voluntary assisted dying (VAD).  This means we do not participate in the VAD process including consultations, assessments or administration of the VAD substance.   

St John of God Health Care welcomes all patients and caregivers to our services, respecting their views and beliefs.  We acknowledge that some patients may wish to explore VAD and our caregivers will respond to all discussions with openness, sensitivity and respect.  

Patients who request specific information about the VAD process will be directed to the relevant state health department VAD Care Navigator Service.  Similarly, we will support the transfer of care for patients who wish to access VAD services available elsewhere.  

We will always maintain our commitment to care for patients including those who are considering VAD. 

Our enduring commitment to end of life care

We promote and provide health care consistent with our organisation’s values of Hospitality, Compassion, Respect, Justice and Excellence, and are guided by the Code of Ethical Standards for Catholic Health and Aged Care Services in Australia.  This ethic of care includes our commitment to heal and never to harm; to relieve pain and other physical symptoms of illness and frailty; to address psychological distress; to withdraw life-prolonging treatments when they are futile or overly burdensome or when a person wants them withdrawn; and to never abandon patients.

Our palliative care services specialise in caring for people who are living with life-limiting illnesses and help prevent and relieve suffering and optimise quality of life for our patients – physically, spiritually, emotionally, and socially.  

We walk with our patients and their families at the end of life, providing holistic care that is attuned to the unique needs of each person.  When patients are at the end of life, we support and care for them and endeavour to ensure they die in comfort and with dignity.

At St John of God Health Care we recognise that people expect to be able to access high quality care when and where they need it, to be cared for with respect and dignity, and that these rights will be protected as they approach the end of their life. To support this, we offer specialist palliative care services in our public and private hospitals in Western Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. 

St John of God Health Care supports palliative care research, and we strive to deliver evidence-based high quality palliative care and pain management to patients who are referred to our palliative care services. 

You can read more about our palliative care services here.

Updated: November 2023