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NZ Government officials assessing capacity to provide assisted-dying – NZMA

28 May 2021 4:33 PM | EOLC Admin (Administrator)

Source: NZ Doctor

Government officials are assessing whether there are enough health work­ers to provide assisted-dying services in every region, says former NZMA chair Kate Baddock.

Dr Baddock has discussed issues such as workforce, and who might or might not want to be involved in New Zea­land’s scheme, with Ministry of Health officials overseeing its implementation.

“They are just working through what that distribution across New Zealand might look like, whether it’s sufficient for their needs,” says the Warkworth GP and practice co-owner.

Asked whether she is confident the ministry will have the scheme ready to go by its 7 November start date, Dr Bad­dock says, “So far, they have managed to achieve their timelines, but we are getting to the pointy end. I’m confident they understand the time pressures and issues that need to be resolved.”

Before Dr Baddock’s term as chair ended on 18 May, she and association chief executive Lesley Clarke attended stakeholder meetings with the ministry implementation team. Dr Baddock says the association is working with the ministry because, despite the NZMA’s opposition to physician-assisted dying, it is imperative doctors understand their role and obligations under the End of Life Choice Act.

Issues that have been aired but not fully worked through include accredita­tion of end-of-life facilities; who might be needed in addition to the medical workforce; education of the public and providers of the service; and funding of both training and service provision.

Speaking to New Zealand Doctor Rata Aotearoa before Budget 2021 was an­nounced, Dr Baddock said ministry of­ficials indicated they had put in a Budget bid. She expected the Budget to provide money for assisted dying.

In an update on its website, the min­istry says the first online training mod­ule about the act and health practitioners’ obligations, including the right to conscientious objection, will be available this month.

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