Supplementary Order Paper No 259

Explanatory note

This Supplementary Order Paper sets out amendments to the End of Life Choice Bill. The following substantive amendments are made to the Bill:

  • a purpose clause is inserted (new clause 2A):

  • definitions of approved form, attending nurse practitioner, conscientious objection, medication, and nurse practitioner are inserted (clause 3):

  • the definition of independent medical practitioner is amended to require the medical practitioner to have held a practising certificate for at least the previous 5 years, to ensure that an experienced medical practitioner gives the second opinion as to whether a person is eligible for assisted dying (clause 3):

  • the definition of person who is eligible for assisted dying is amended so that a person who has a grievous and irremediable medical condition that is not a terminal illness likely to end the person’s life within 6 months will not be eligible for assisted dying (clause 4(1)(c) replaced):

  • the competence of a person who wishes to exercise the option of receiving assisted dying must be assessed having regard to more detailed criteria (clause 4(1)(f) replaced and new clause 4A inserted):

  • a new provision is inserted to expressly provide that a person is not eligible for assisted dying by reason only that the person is suffering from any form of mental disorder or mental illness, has a disability of any kind, or is of advanced age (new clause 4(2)):

  • a broader conscientious objection provision is inserted that applies to all health practitioners and explicitly states that an employer cannot discriminate on the grounds of an employee’s conscientious objection (new clause 5A):

  • a new provision is inserted prohibiting a health practitioner from initiating with a person to whom they are providing health services any discussion about assisted dying, or from making any suggestion to the person that the person exercise the option of receiving assisted dying (new clause 7):

  • the requirements for signing the form requesting assisted dying are redrafted to make them clearer (clause 9):

  • a third opinion on whether a person is competent to make an informed decision about assisted dying can be given only by a psychiatrist, not by a psychologist. The definition of specialist is consequentially deleted (clause 12 and clause 3):

  • a person who is eligible to receive assisted dying must complete a form choosing a date and time for the administration of the medication and must be advised by the attending medical practitioner that they may subsequently decide to defer the procedure for a period of up to 6 months (as an additional option to deciding not to receive the medication at all) (new clauses 14(2)(e) and 14A inserted, and clause 15(3)(d) amended):

  • an attending nurse practitioner (a nurse practitioner acting under the instruction of an attending medical practitioner) may prescribe and administer medication (clauses 3, 15(4), and 16(4)):

  • the clear choices that must be given to an eligible person at the time chosen by that person for the administration of the medication are specified (clause 16(2)):

  • a new provision is inserted to confirm that no further action may be taken in respect of an eligible person’s request to exercise the option of receiving assisted dying if the person rescinds their request, and if subsequently the person wishes to pursue this option a new request under clause 8 would need to be made (new clause 18A):

  • clause 22A, which provides that an attending medical practitioner or attending nurse practitioner must take no further action under this Bill if the medical practitioner or nurse practitioner suspects on reasonable grounds that a person who has expressed the wish to exercise the option of receiving assisted dying has not expressed their wish free from pressure, is moved to Part 2 of the Bill (new clause 18B):

  • the Director-General of Health may appoint as members of the SCENZ Group any persons who the Director-General considers collectively have knowledge and understanding of the matters relevant to the Group’s functions (clause 19(1) amended and new clause 19(1A) inserted):

  • the Minister must, as soon as practicable after receiving a report on the operation of the Act, present the report to the House of Representatives (new clause 22(2) inserted):

  • a new provision is inserted to provide that a person wishing to request to exercise the option of receiving assisted dying must sign and date the relevant form and that wish cannot be expressed by the person in an advance directive, will, contract, or other document. A wish to rescind a request to exercise the option of receiving assisted dying must be communicated to the attending medical practitioner, or an attending nurse practitioner, orally, in writing, or by gesture and cannot be otherwise expressed, including in an advance directive (new clause 24A):

  • a new provision is inserted to provide that a welfare guardian appointed under the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988 for any person does not, in their capacity as a welfare guardian, have any power to make a decision, or take any action, under this Bill for that person (new clause 24B):

  • a new provision is inserted to prohibit the publication of details relating to assisted dying deaths (new clause 25A):

  • the criminal immunity provision is redrafted to expressly address immunity from the provisions of the Crimes Act 1961, particularly sections 41, 48, 63, and 179 of that Act (clause 26):

  • the Director-General of Health is authorised to approve and issue forms for the purposes of this Bill (new clause 27A):

  • the Health and Disability Commissioner Act 1994 is amended to include services provided to a person who has requested assisted dying as a health service under that Act. This ensures that persons providing assisted dying services who are not health practitioners are also subject to the duties in the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights (Schedule, Part 1):

  • the definition of services in the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000 is amended to include services provided to a person who has requested assisted dying to enable public funding of these services (Schedule, Part 1):

  • as a result of the amendment to the definition of services in the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000, the amendments to the definition of that term in the Health Act 1956 and the Health (Retention of Health Information) Regulations 1996 are no longer required and are deleted (Schedule, Parts 1 and 2):

  • the Health and Disability Commissioner (Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights) Regulations 1996 are amended to include a new clause in the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights to set out how the Code operates with this Bill (Schedule, Part 2).

Minor technical amendments are also made to the Bill.

David Seymour, in Committee, to propose the amendments shown in the following document.