More than 120 people have died in the first year of Victoria's euthanasia laws, with demand doubling despite the COVID-19 pandemic making the scheme harder to access.
The state's Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board confirmed 124 deaths under the program over the past 12 months to July in a report tabled in parliament on Tuesday.
Former Supreme Court justice and review board chair Betty King said demand to access the scheme was up 50 per cent from the first six months.
There were 48 confirmed deaths from mid-June to December 31, 2019, and 78 from January 1 to June 30, the official data shows.
Of the 124 deaths, 78 per cent were people who had a cancer diagnosis and the remainder either a neurodegenerative condition (15 per cent) or another untreatable disease (seven).
Twenty of those who died used medication administered by a practitioner, while 104 administered it themselves. Medication has now been dispensed for 154 people
A total of 231 permits have been issued since June 2019, when Victoria became the first Australian state to legalise voluntary assisted dying.
Some 38 per cent of requests have come came from regional Victorians in the past six months.
Ms King said access issues were "easing" as 37 per cent of all trained and registered medical practitioners now resided outside metropolitan Melbourne.
But the report highlighted feedback that coronavirus measures were making face-to-face assessments challenging.
"This has a significant impact on Victorians living in regional areas or for those who find it incredibly difficult to travel due to their clinical condition," Ms King said in the report.
It is an offence to use a carriage service for suicide-related material, effectively banning telehealth appointments for assisted dying.
The independent board is calling for the federal government to reconsider granting an exemption to allow Victorians to have euthanasia-related medical consultations over the phone or via teleconference.
It took within 19 days for half of all applicants to move from their first to last request, with most permits then issued within two days.
Over the last six months, 42 per cent of medications were dispensed within two business days of being requested.
Although contact people for those undergoing assisted dying expressed positive feedback on compassionate support from pharmacists, one said: "There were no issues once they received the medication; however, it took far too long."
The board has also referred one case to the health practitioner regulator for non-compliance because of a paperwork error, but the applicant was deemed permit eligible.
State Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said it demonstrated the strict level of oversight required to give Victorians suffering incurable illnesses a choice to end their lives.
"This review shows that the system is working as it should - with 68 rigorous safeguards in place, making our model the most conservative system in the world," she said.
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