Thursday, April 25, 2024

Assisted dying report published

The Ministry of Health has published the Registrar (assisted dying) Annual Report to the Minister of Health – the first full year report published since the Act came into force.

The End of life Choice Act 2019 became law on 7 November 2021. The report covers the period from 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023.

The Registrar (assisted dying) is part of the Ministry of Health’s Assisted Dying Secretariat. The role of the Registrar includes checking that the processes required by the Act have been complied with.

The Annual Report focuses on continuous quality improvement and recognises the transfer of operational services for assisted dying to Te Whatu Ora in early March 2023. Manatū Hauora focuses on the administration and regulation of the End of Life Choice Act 2019 (the Act).

Between 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023, 328 people had an assisted death in New Zealand.

Over that period, there were 807 new formal applications for assisted dying. The current report also contains information for 45 applications which were ongoing at the end of the last Registrar report.   

The Support and Consultation for End of Life New Zealand (SCENZ) Group is a statutory body created for the assisted dying service. The SCENZ Group is responsible for maintaining lists of medical practitioners, and psychiatrists who provide assisted dying services. They also hold a list of willing nurse practitioners.

As of 31 March 2023, 148 practitioners are registered to be on the SCENZ lists.

A growing number of GPs are providing assisted dying services to their own patients. They represent a workforce in addition to those registered on the SCENZ list.

The Registrar (assisted dying) and the Secretariat at Manatū Hauora received 16 complaints over the course of the year, and the Medical Council received one complaint directly. Eight complaints were received by the Health and Disability Commissioner, including three which were referred by the Registrar (assisted dying).

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