The End of Life Choice Act 2019 (the Act) comes into force from 7 November 2021. From this date, New Zealanders who meet the eligibility criteria can legally ask for medical assistance to end their lives.
To recap, to be eligible the individual must be:
- 18 years or over
- A New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
- Suffering from a terminal illness that is likely to end their life within 6 months
- In an advanced state of irreversible decline in physical capability
- Experiencing unbearable suffering that cannot be relieved in a manner they consider tolerable, and
- Competent to make an informed decision about assisted dying (ie be able to understand information about assisted dying, retain and weigh that information, and communicate the decision in some way).
We have answered key questions about the Act and what it will mean for health providers in our previous update.
The Ministry of Health has provided resources for the public and for health professionals about the Act and we will continue to advise clients about the complexities and practicalities of implementing the Act.