Media Releases

View of nurses on assisted dying heard today

21 September 2016

NZNO are at parliament today contributing to the discussion about assisted dying (AD) because any legislation around medically assisted dying will have serious implications for nurses and their duty of care for patients.

Based on legislative trends overseas, nurses acknowledge it is likely that AD will become legal in New Zealand. NZNO therefore takes a principled approach to AD and respect individuals’ desire to have a choice.

Speaking to the parliamentary Health Select Committee, NZNO Kaiwhakahaere Kerri Nuku said:

“Like there is no one view on AD, there is no one Māori view or approach to death and dying.”

“While NZNO members are supportive of the patient’s right to dignity and ability to have control over the timing of their death, of course with 48,000 members there is a diverse range of perspectives on this issue.”

NZNO Nursing and Professional Services Manager, Jane MacGeorge co-presented for NZNO. Jane brings several years’ experience managing services in the palliative care sector.

“Those who support legalising AD have witnessed many prolonged deaths where the desire for AD has arisen despite access to pain medication,” Jane MacGeorge explains.

“Nurses have extensive expertise in care of the dying and should be fully involved in the drafting of any legislation. As frontline health practitioners it is also imperative that nurses know the legal implications of AD.

“In addition, the legislation should provide nurses with the right to conscientious objection as it has been allowed under reproductive services.

“Members who oppose legislation for AD have concerns that centre on the protection of the vulnerable. We need improved access to quality palliative care available to all who need it.

“NZNO encourages open discussions about death and dying and also supports the movement in advance care planning,” Jane MacGeorge said.

Read the February 2016 NZNO Submission on Medically Assisted Dying

Posted in: Public Health

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