Assisted Dying Service Data and Reporting

Assisted dying service data is published on a quarterly basis.

The Ministry of Health is responsible for overseeing and monitoring the assisted dying service, including collecting data. A summary of this data is released quarterly.

The Registrar (assisted dying) must provide an annual report to the Minister of Health by 30 June each year. This report will be published on the Ministry of Health website after it has been tabled in Parliament. The next data summary will be available in October.

Service activity: 7 November 2021 - 30 June 2022

Assisted dying became legal in New Zealand from 7 November 2021.This report provides combined data for the full period, as well as monthly time series data for some measures.

Overview of assisted dying applications

Figure One gives an overview of the pathway from initial application to an assisted death.

Between 7 November 2021 and 30 June 2022, 400 people applied for assisted dying. As of 30 June:

  • 101 people were still in the process of assessment or preparation for assisted dying
  • 153 people did not continue the process (due to being ineligible, withdrawing or dying)
  • 143 people had an assisted death.
Diagram of assisted dying applications - full text description follows.
Figure One: Overview of applications received as at 30 June 2022

Diagram shows an overview of how the applications received up until 30 June 2022 have progressed through the assisted dying service pathway

400 people applied for assisted dying

363 first assessments were completed by attending medical practitioners

270 second, independent, opinions were completed by independent medical practitioners

3 psychiatrist opinions have been completed

101 of the 400 applications are still in process

57 people are still in the assessment phase and 44 have completed assessment and had eligibility confirmed

153 of the 400 applications ended prior to assisted death

68 people were not eligible, 23 withdrew their application and 62 died of natural causes

143 of the 400 people that applied have had an assisted death

Assisted dying applications started by month

Figure Two shows the number of applications started by month, noting that November was not a full month. An application is defined as started when the first form (the Advice and Request form) is received by the secretariat.

Chart showing applications started by month, with May 2022 having the highest number at over 65 followed by June 2022 with over 60.
Figure Two: Applications started by month 7 November 2021 – 30 June 2022

Demographics of applicants

Table One shows the demographic breakdown of applicants by ethnic group, gender, age group, diagnosis and palliative care status. The assisted dying service is relatively new, and numbers are small. It is expected that the percentage breakdowns will change over time.

As of 30 June:

  • 79.5% of people that apply for assisted dying are NZ European/Pākehā
  • 54.3% are women
  • 75.5% are aged 65 years or older
  • 65.0% have a cancer diagnosis
  • 78.0% were receiving palliative care at the time of application.
Table One: Demographics of people who have applied for assisted dying
Demographic breakdown Number of people % of applicants
Ethnic group Māori 19 4.8
  Asian 9 2.3
  NZ European/Pākehā 318 79.5
  Pacific and Other ethnic groups 57 14.3
Gender Female 217 54.3
  Male 183 45.8
  Gender diverse 0 0
Age group 18-44 years 12 3
  45-64 years 86 21.5
  65-84 years 218 54.5
  85+ years 84 21
Diagnosis category Cancer 260 65
  Neurological condition 38 9.5
  Other diagnosis 36 9
  Diagnosis not known 66 16.5
Receiving palliative care at time of application? Yes 312 78
  No 85 21.3
  Not stated 3 0.8
Total   400  

Notes:

Total ethnicity has been used. This means that people with more than one ethnicity are counted against each ethnicity they identify with.

‘Diagnosis not known’ includes people that applied but have not yet had their first assessment with their Attending Medical Practitioner as well as those that withdrew, died before this assessment was completed, or were ineligible due to not having a terminal illness.

Assisted deaths by location

As at 30 June 2022, 143 people had an assisted death. Assisted deaths can take place at the person’s home or in the community. The breakdown by location is:

  • 113 (or 79.0%) at the person’s home or another private residence
  • 13 (or 9.1%) in an aged care facility
  • 11 (or 7.7%) in a district health board facility
  • 6 (or 4.2%) in a hospice facility.
Chart showing assisted deaths by location. Private residence being most common location followed by aged care facilities
Figure Three: Assisted deaths by location

Assisted deaths by month

Figure Four shows the number of assisted deaths by the month of death.

Assisted deaths are required to be reported not more than 14 days after the date of death. Data for the period reported after the quarterly report cut-off date will show in the following quarterly report.

Chart showing assisted deaths by month 7 November 2021 – 30 June 2022. April and June 2022 being the highest
Figure Four: Assisted deaths by month 7 November 2021 – 30 June 2022

People assessed as not eligible

There are strict eligibility criteria for an assisted death. As of 30 June, 68 people had been assessed as ineligible for assisted dying.

A person may be found ineligible for more than one reason. Therefore the sum by reason is greater than the total number of people assessed as ineligible.

Table Two: Applications assessed as ineligible by reason and assessing practitioner
 

Number of people

% of those not eligible

Reason ineligible

(which criteria from the Act not met)

Not aged 18 years or over

0

0.0

Not a New Zealand Citizen or permanent resident

2

2.9

Not experiencing unbearable suffering unable to be relieved in a tolerable manner

29

42.6

Not in an advanced state of irreversible decline in physical capability

25

36.8

Does not suffer from a terminal illness that is likely to end their life within six months

37

54.4

Not competent to make an informed decision about assisted dying

15

22.1

Which practitioner

Attending medical practitioner (AMP)

53

77.9

Independent medical practitioner (IMP)

13

19.1

Registrar

2

2.9

Total people assessed as ineligible

68

 

Figure Five shows the number of applications assessed as ineligible by the month that the application was started.

Chart showing the highest number of ineligible application assessments was December 2021, followed by April 2022
Figure Five: Applications assessed as ineligible by month 7 November 2021 – 30 June 2022

SCENZ Group practitioner lists 

Table Three shows the distribution of health practitioners registered on the SCENZ Group lists by the DHB region of their usual working location and the role(s) for which they are available.

Figures below three have been omitted for privacy reasons and are replaced with an ‘S’ in the table. 

The SCENZ Group lists are dynamic and will fluctuate over time as new practitioners sign up and existing practitioners come off the lists.

Medical practitioners can be on the SCENZ list for more than one role, depending on their scope of practice (attending medical practitioner, independent medical practitioner, psychiatrist). Therefore, the sum of counts for each role will be greater than the number of unique practitioners.

The table groups practitioners by the region of their usual working location. Many practitioners are willing to travel to provide assisted dying services. Funding for travel is covered by the Ministry.

Health practitioners providing services as an attending medical practitioner (AMP) or attending nurse practitioner (ANP) do not have to be on a SCENZ Group list. For example, general practitioners may only act as the AMP for their own patients and may not register on the SCENZ Group AMP list.

Table Three: Count of practitioners by role and DHB region as at 30 June

Region

DHBs

Total
unique
practitioners

Attending
medical
practitioner

Independent
medical
practitioner

Psychiatrist

Nurse
practitioner

Northern

Northland

40

25

28

3

6

Waitematā

Auckland

Counties Manukau

Midlands

Waikato

21

13

14

S

S

Lakes

Bay of Plenty

Tairawhiti

Taranaki

Central

Hawke's Bay

25

21

15

S

S

Whanganui

MidCentral

Wairarapa

Hutt Valley

Capital & Coast

Southern

Nelson Marlborough

44

32

26

5

S

West Coast

Canterbury

South Canterbury

Southern

 

Total

130

91

83

11

10

Back to top