We are pleased to update you about the progress to implement the End of Life Choice Act 2019 (the Act) and assisted dying services in New Zealand. Assisted dying will be legal in New Zealand from 7 November 2021.
There is also further information available on the Ministry’s website.
Implementation is progressing and a number of decisions have been made on the delivery of assisted dying, and the funding model.
Delivery of assisted dying services
Assisted dying services will be publicly funded in New Zealand and the Ministry of Health will be responsible for overseeing the funding and provision of assisted dying services. These decisions have been made by Cabinet and the background Cabinet paper can be seen here.
To support equitable access to services, any medical or nurse practitioner who is suitably qualified, and willing to do so, will be able to provide parts of the assisted dying services.
If a practitioner is providing services through private practice, a non-government organisation or primary practice, they will be able to access funding through a fee-for-service model. This model is being developed.
Assisted dying services are most likely to be provided in a person’s home or other community settings, rather than in hospital settings. A person’s medical or nurse practitioner will be able to travel to the person to provide care, and travel costs will be funded.
The Support and Consultation for End of Life in New Zealand (SCENZ) group will maintain the lists of practitioners who will be involved in assisted dying services. This group is expected to be established during July, and expressions of interest will be invited from practitioners willing to provide assisted dying services.
For more detail, about the delivery and funding of assisted dying please see the detailed information sheet on the Ministry website.
The funding mechanism to pay health practitioners for providing assisted dying services will be created through a section 88 Notice, under the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000.
The implementation team will now begin to work directly with representative groups of health and disability organisations to inform and develop the details of the Notice. This approach will ensure the funding mechanism is in place in time for 7 November 2021.
The Ministry will receive independent advice on the costing model and price schedule, and the level of funding that practitioners should be able to claim for completing parts of the service, and that advice will be informed by discussions with health and disability organisations representative of the sector.
If a practitioner is providing services as part of their employment within a district health board (DHB), DHB funding will cover these costs where assisted dying is bring provided in the DHB setting.
An eligible patient will not need to pay additional fees (such as prescription co-payments) when medications are prescribed for assisted dying.
The Ministry has work underway to ensure appropriate medicines are available.
Guidance and training resources for the health sector
Information and learning resources for health professionals and health service providers can be found on the Ministry’s LearnOnline platform.
The following resources are now available:
Health professionals can register for the next implementation webinar on patient perspectives
Hosted on 14 July between 7-8pm, this webinar will cover research on patient perspectives of assisted dying, and will also provide an update about implementation progress.
Find out more and register here: https://mohnz.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_d3IQgmnxSuqv6Dobo4hbsw
Upcoming workforce survey
An invitation to complete a workforce survey will be issued over the next week. This is an opportunity for health professionals to provide their current views around the implementation of the assisted dying in New Zealand. The survey will be open until the end of July and will inform our implementation planning.
If you have questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Nga Mihi nui
End of Life Choice Act Implementation programme team
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