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 next data summary will be available in July.

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.

Service activity: 7 Nov 2021 – 31 Mar 2022

Assisted dying became legal in New Zealand from 7 November 2021. Subsequent reports will cover a three month period.

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 31 March 2022, 206 people applied for assisted dying. As at 31 March:

  • 59 people were still in the process of assessment or preparation for assisted dying
  • 81 people did not continue the process (due to being ineligible, withdrawing or dying of their condition)
  • 66 people had an assisted death.
Diagram of assisted dying applications - full text description follows.
Figure One: Overview of applications received as at 31 March 2022

 

Diagram shows an overview of how the applications received up until 31 March have progressed through the assisted dying service pathway.

206 people applied for assisted dying.

168 first assessments were completed by attending medical practitioners.

126 second, independent, opinions were completed by independent medical practitioners.

One psychiatrist opinion has been completed.

59 of the 206 applications are still in process. 25 people are still in the assessment phase and 34 have completed assessment and had eligibility confirmed.

81 of the 206 applications ended prior to assisted death. 40 people were not eligible, 11 withdrew their application and 30 died of natural causes.

66 of the 206 people that applied have had an assisted death.

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 at 31 March:

  • 79% of people that apply for assisted dying are NZ European/Pākehā
  • 55% are women
  • 74% are aged 65 years or older
  • 65% have a cancer diagnosis
  • 80% were receiving palliative care at the time of application.
Table One: Demographics of people that have applied for assisted dying

Demographic breakdown

Number of people

% of applicants

Ethnic group

Māori

12

5.8

Pacific

0

0.0

Asian

5

2.4

NZ European/Pākehā

162

78.6

Other ethnic groups

27

13.1

Gender

 

Female

114

55.3

Male

92

44.7

Gender diverse

0

0.0

Age group

18-44 years

9

4.4

45-64 years

44

21.4

65-84 years

110

53.4

85+ years

43

20.9

Diagnosis category

Cancer

133

64.6

Neurological condition

21

10.2

Other diagnosis

14

6.8

Diagnosis not known

38

18.4

Receiving palliative care at time of application?

Yes

164

79.6

No

39

18.9

Not stated

3

1.5

Total

 

206

 

Notes: ‘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. Prioritised ethnicity has been used.

Assisted deaths by location

As at 31 March 2022, 66 people had an assisted death. Assisted deaths can take place at the person’s home or in the community. The breakdown by location is:

  • 73% at the person’s home or another private residence
  • 17% in aged care facilities
  • 6% in district health board facilities
  • 4% in hospice facilities.
Graph of assisted deaths by location - private residence has most, followed by aged care, DHB facilities, then hospice.
Figure Two: Assisted deaths by location

People assessed as not eligible

There are strict eligibility criteria for an assisted death. As at 31 March, 40 people had been assessed as ineligible for assisted dying. 

A person may be found ineligible for more than one reason. 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

5.0

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

16

40.0

Not in an advanced state of irreversible decline in physical capability

17

42.5

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

26

65.0

Not competent to make an informed decision about assisted dying

7

17.5

Which practitioner

Attending medical practitioner (AMP)

32

80.0

Independent medical practitioner (IMP)

8

20.0

Psychiatrist

0

0.0

Total people assessed as ineligible

40

 

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 suppressed 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). 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 act as the AMP for their own patients only and not register on the SCENZ Group AMP list.

Table Three: Count of practitioners by role and DHB region as at 31 March

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

This page was updated on 2 May 2022. As the result of a technical issue with the source data system, an earlier version incorrectly showed that no psychiatrist assessments were completed. This has been corrected to show one psychiatrist assessment completed as at 31 March.

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