By Ann David, Acting President of the End-of-Life Choice Society

The system is working smoothly

The assisted dying service is overseen by the Ministry of Health (MoH) which provides regular feedback to advocacy organisation End-of-Life Choice Society NZ, among other stakeholders.  

As of 10 February, 28 assisted deaths had taken place in New Zealand.  The system is working smoothly.  The care advisers who track every case have been able to find solutions to obstacles including finding alternative options for people whose hospice/care facility does not allow assisted dying onsite, as well as for people whose doctors are unwilling or untrained to participate.  

Ineligible applicants are always invited to reapply for reassessment later if their disease progresses.  Applications are processed within the expected timeframe of 4 –6 weeks.  Urgent cases are dealt with more rapidly.  

Applicants are not being driven to seek assisted dying due to lack of palliative care; most are already receiving it.  

If your own doctor/care facility is uncooperative with your request for an assisted death, please call the MoH on 0800 223 825 Monday to Friday or e-mail AssistedDying@health.govt.nz  

More details can be found on this site including eligibility criteria:  https://eolc.org.nz/

Participants wanted for a Cancer Society assisted dying study    

Dr Jessica Young is a well-known researcher on issues related to assisted dying.  In a new study funded by the Cancer Society of NZ (2021 EXP 11454) Jessica and fellow researchers will investigate how people could be better supported through the assisted dying process. 

 If you or anyone you know has terminal cancer and is currently applying for assisted dying, please consider being a part of the research by emailing jessica.young@vuw.ac.nz or phoning 04 886 4513.  Interviews will be by Zoom.  Family/whānau and your doctor are welcome to join with your permission.