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May 2021

Euthanasia: Are we ready for legalised assisted dying in New Zealand?

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NZ Herald 1 May 2021
Family First Comment: We never will be – because its fundamentally unsafe. But here are additional concerns:
* We lack clarity around how health practitioner training will roll out, who or how many will take part, how training will be funded, or what support will be available.
* Questions are also being raised about how a doctor can detect coercion.
* Concerns have been raised about whether NZ will follow in Victoria, Australia’s footsteps (where assisted dying became legal in 2019) and limit training to a six-hour online tutorial.
* Only 10% of the almost 2000 health practitioners who responded indicated definite willingness to be involved. Another 20% indicated it was a ‘possibility’.
* there needs to be equal support and input into palliative care, so people have options.
* New Zealand universities still need to increase palliative care education for medical students.

Last year almost two-thirds of New Zealanders voted to legalise assisted dying. So come November 7, euthanasia will be legal. The Ministry of Health expects about 1100 people to request it in the first year and about a third to follow through.

But plenty of questions remain about whether the processes and infrastructure will be in place for it to happen.

Six months out, the ministry that is responsible for implementing the End of Life Choice Act and making any regulations is still in the process of appointing people to the three statutory positions to oversee the regime.

We lack clarity around how health practitioner training will roll out, who or how many will take part, how training will be funded, or what support will be available. People are already asking health practitioners and advocacy groups for guidance and advice, but nobody is any closer to being able to provide answers.

Despite the criticisms, Health Minister Andrew Little says the ministry has assured him everything will be ready and he’s holding them to that.

“They’re giving me regular updates … I’m very confident things will be in place,” he told the Weekend Herald.

So what needs to happen to reassure patients, medical practitioners and safety watchdogs that euthanasia will be fair and safe? Here are some of the main concerns and the state of play so far.
READ MORE: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/euthanasia-are-we-ready-for-legalised-assisted-dying-in-new-zealand/L2DFV5ZKWPDYVAXVLD5NPS4O5M/

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