Comes into force 7 November 2021
What is end of life choice?
- Assisted dying through the administration of medication by an attending medical practitioner or attending nurse practitioner to the person to relieve the person suffering by hastening death (euthanasia); or
- The self-administration by the subject person of medication to relieve this suffering by hastening death (assisted suicide).
Issues and safeguards
- Health practitioner may refuse to provide assisted dying services – health practitioner may conscientiously object;
- A discussion about assisted dying must not be initiated by a health practitioner – disciplinary proceedings may result if that happens;
- The legal profession is not subject to those limitations;
- Exercising the option of assisted dying is a multistep process.
- Person must be aged 18 years or over;
- A New Zealand citizen or permanent resident;
- Have a terminal illness likely to end the person’s life within six months;
- Be in an advance state of irreversible physical decline;
- Have unbearable suffering that cannot be tolerably relieved;
- Must be competent to make informed decision.
Person not eligible
- If has mental disorder or mental illness;
- A disability of any kind;
- Is of advanced age.
- Request to medical practitioner from patient;
- First opinion concerning eligibility from a medical practitioner;
- Second opinion concerning eligibility from independent medical practitioner;
- Third opinion may be required from psychiatrist if uncertainty about persons capacity;
- After medical review if patient is not eligible or not competent this decision must be recorded in writing and filed with the Registrar;
- If patient is eligible and competent the medical practitioner must:
- discuss with the patient the progress of the patient’s illness;
- discuss the timing of administering the medication;
- give the patient a form to fill in choosing the date and time;
- advise patient that he or she can change his or her mind.
Ministry of Health:
- To assist with implementation of the Act the Ministry is putting together implementation resources about assisted dying for the public and medical profession;
- Facilitating three public statutory bodies to administer the Act:
- Support and Consultation for End of Life in NZ Group (SCENZ);
- End of Life Review Committee; and
- The Registrar (assisted dying).
For more information
see the Ministry website at: https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/regulation-health-and-disability-system/end-life-choice-act-implementation
Contact: Tony Fortune, Lauren McIvor or Catherine Lee