Radio NZ News 29 March 2021
Palliative care specialists fear health practitioners with as little as six hours online training could end up providing euthanasia for patients who would have wanted to live if they had proper care and pain relief.
Their concerns come as a new Ministry of Health survey reveals fewer than a third of health practitioners are prepared to participate in the assisted dying regime.
Palliative care specialists say that might mean euthanasia is unavailable in some areas and a small band of itinerant doctors with no connection to their patients may do the bulk of the cases.
Palliative Care professor Rod MacLeod said nearly every week that he spent working in hospice care he was approached by someone who wanted to end their life – but during his 32-year career all but one of those people changed their minds.
“I’ve had lots and lots of people ask me for assisted dying. But with palliative care provided those requests melt away.”
He said that meant that under the euthanasia regime people who would have changed their minds could be put to death.
Palliative care specialists say most people skilled in end of life care don’t want to be involved in euthanasia.
But a Ministry of Health survey of nearly 2000 health practitioners shows that, while almost half supported assisted dying in principle, fewer than 30 percent were “possibly or definitely” willing to provide the service.
READ MORE: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/439361/fears-euthanasia-training-will-just-be-online-course