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Sector Forum – Palliative Care and VAD Coexisiting in WA

The approaching introduction of Voluntary Assisted Dying will change the end-of-life landscape in Western Australia. VAD and palliative care will need to coexist in order to meet the needs of Western Australians and support them at end-of life.

In the results of our recent sector survey, almost all respondents expressed a level of concern about having their information, professional development and pastoral care needs met in time for the introduction of VAD. In response, this sector forum aims to provide a detailed update on the implementation of VAD and the healthcare responsibilities for its delivery in WA, as well the opportunity to hear about, and learn from, some experiences of the delivery of both palliative care and VAD in Victoria and Canada.

Importantly we will also provide the voice of lived experience as we hear from a family member of someone who chose to access VAD in Victoria.

WA speakers

A briefing will provide the latest information on the implementation of VAD in WA and the healthcare responsibilities for its delivery.

Dr Scott Blackwell 

Scott is the Chair of the VAD Implementation Leadership Team in WA. With over 50 years’ experience in General Practice, Scott developed a special interest in aged care and palliative care and now works largely in Residential Aged Care. He is a past President of the AMA, Palliative Care WA and Palliative Care Australia, and was the inaugural Chair of the Medical Council and later the WA Clinical Senate.

Amanda Bolleter 

Amanda is the Project Director for End of Life Care in the Department of Health, with responsibilities across Advance Care Planning, End of Life and Palliative Care, and Voluntary Assisted Dying. Amanda has held roles in palliative and end of life care policy, advocacy and management in Victoria and WA since 2002. Her professional background is in social work and she has experience across treatment, research and advocacy roles.

Stephanie Dowden 

Stephanie is a Paediatric Nurse Practitioner and a member of the VAD Implementation Leadership Team in WA.  With extensive nursing experience in primary health, community development and tertiary hospital settings, Stephanie has specialist palliative care, paediatric pain management and paediatric palliative care expertise. She is a past member of the National Board of Australian College of Nurse Practitioners and past chair of its WA Chapter, and Past President of Palliative Care WA.

The lived experience voice

Kristin Cornell’s father was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in 2019 and she supported him through Voluntary Assisted Dying.  While their experience of palliative care was positive, they struggled for months after applying for eligibility for VAD, and were caught up in timelines, legislative obstructions and access barriers before finally Allan died via VAD in June 2020. Kristin hopes to share her experiences to help people in other states travel a much smoother and easier path.

Guest panellists

An expert panel will share their experiences of the delivery of both palliative care and VAD in Victoria and Canada.

Professor Andrew Weickhardt

Andrew is a Consultant Medical Oncologist and Translational Researcher at the Olivia Newton John Cancer Centre at Austin Hospital in Victoria. His interests are in genitourinary cancers which include bladder, prostate, kidney and testicular cancers and he focuses on delivering effective treatment to patients, alongside compassionate care.

Dr Danielle Ko

Danielle is a palliative care consultant and the Clinical Ethics Lead for Austin Health in Victoria, while also working in their Patient Safety and Clinical Excellence Unit. Her area of expertise is in the intersection of medicine, law and clinical ethics as it relates to everyday clinical practice as well as at the end of life. Danielle is a member of Victoria’s Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board that reviews and monitors VAD activities in Victoria to ensure legislative compliance.

Associate Professor Mark Boughey 

Mark is Director of Palliative Medicine at St Vincent’s Hospital and Co-Deputy Director of the Centre for Palliative Care in Victoria.  He is also Chair and Clinical Lead for Safer Care Victoria’s Palliative Care Clinical Network and sits on Clinical Council of Victoria.  He is especially interested in the promotion and incorporation of palliative care principles and practices across all illness and disease trajectories.

Dr Marie-Christine Carrier

Marie-Christine is a palliative medicine physician. She is the Medical Chief of Staff for the Palliative Medicine Department as well as a member of the Spiritual Care Internship program at Montreal University Hospital. Marie-Christine is also the Secretary of the Quebec Palliative Physician’s Society.

Who should attend?

This sector forum is open to anyone, and will suit those from across the health, aged and community service sectors. Both members and non-members of PCWA are welcome to attend.


  • $35 for sector professionals.
  • $15 for students, volunteers and members of the community.
  • FREE for Individual members of Palliative Care WA.

Registration information

Due to the current restrictions that are in place for the post-lockdown transition in the Perth region, we are no longer able to offer an in-room attendance option for this forum.

Registrations are essential and can be made via eventbrite

Sector partner

This forum has been organised in partnership with WA Department of Health

WA Department of Health logo


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