There are legal restrictions around the information that can be made public about individual assisted deaths. These are absolute restrictions and apply to details that are restricted by law – irrespective of the comfort of the patient, practitioner and their family with the details being released.
Section 36 of the End of Life Choice Act 2019 sets out what details must not be made public in relation to an assisted death. This section prohibits the publication of the following information:
- the method by which the medication was administered to the deceased
- the place where the medication was administered to the deceased
- the name of the person who administered the medication to the deceased, or the name of that person’s employer.
Please be aware that the publication of any of these details is an offence.
Questions and answers
- What does ‘make public’ mean in this context?
It means the restricted details cannot be disseminated via:
- broadcasting (within the meaning of the Broadcasting Act 1989)
- newspaper (within the meaning of the Defamation Act 1992)
- a book, journal or newsletter
- audio or a visual recording
- an internet site that is accessible to the public, or social media.
Note that this does not apply to court or tribunal proceedings or to reports/publications of those proceedings.
- If a patient’s family/friends approach us, can we release the details of an assisted death, with their permission?
Even if a patient’s family has given their permission for you to release details about an assisted death, you must still comply with section 36 of the End of Life Choice Act 2019. This means you cannot publish or make public the name of the person who administered the medication or their employer, the place where the medication was administered, or the method of administration.
- Can we release names of practitioners in relation to specific cases?
Practitioners can only be named in relation to their general experiences with assisted dying, but not in relation to specific cases.
Section 36(2)(c) prohibits a person making public ‘the name of the person who administered the medication to the deceased’.
- Who is on the SCENZ list?
This list provides people who apply for an assisted death with the details of suitable practitioners. To protect the privacy and safety of individuals providing the service, this list is kept in confidence by the Secretariat.
- Can we interview members of SCENZ or the Registrar?
If you would like to interview the Registrar or a member of the SCENZ group, please contact the media team at Manatū Hauora [email protected]
- Who is available to answer any questions we have about the service?
If you are unsure which details can be published, please contact the media team at Manatū Hauora [email protected]