The End of Life Review Committee

The End of Life Review Committee is appointed by the Minister of Health. The Committee includes a medical ethicist, a doctor specialising in end-of-life care, and one other health practitioner.

The Minister of Health has appointed the Committee for a period of two years commencing on 7 November 2021. Secretariat support for the Committee is provided by the Ministry of Health.

The Committee’s role is specified in the Act.

End of Life Choice Act 2019 No 67 (as at 28 October 2021), Public Act 26 Review Committee – New Zealand Legislation

The Review Committee has the following functions:

  1. to consider reports sent to it under section 21(3) (assisted death reports); and
  2. to report to the Registrar whether it considers that the information contained in an assisted death report shows satisfactory compliance with the requirements of this Act; and
  3. to direct the Registrar to follow up on any information contained in an assisted death report that the Review Committee considers does not show satisfactory compliance with the requirements of this Act.

The Committee meets regularly and examines every death report once sent to them by the Registrar (assisted dying) under Section 21(3) of the Act.

End of Life Choice Act 2019 No 67 (as at 28 October 2021), Public Act 21 Death to be reported – New Zealand Legislation

The Committee can only look at information contained in the death reports to arrive at its decision about whether the death shows satisfactory compliance with Section 21(2) of the Act.  The information provided to the Committee is:

  1. the name of the attending medical practitioner or attending nurse practitioner; and
  2. the person’s name; and
  3. the person’s last known address; and
  4. the fact that the person has died; and
  5. which of the methods described in section 19(2)(a) was used; and
  6. a description of the administration of the medication; and
  7. whether any problem arose in the administration of the medication and, if so, how it was dealt with; and
  8. the place where the person died; and
  9. the date and time when the person died; and
  10. the name of the medical practitioner or nurse practitioner who was available to the person until the person died; and
  11. the names of any other health practitioners who were present when the person died.

To contact the Review Committee please email [email protected] and write ‘For the Review Committee’ in the subject line.

End of Life Review Committee members

Dr Dana Wensley

Dr Dana Wensley is the medical ethicist specialist on the End of Life Review Committee. Dr Wensley (NZ European) received her Ph.D. in Medical Law and Ethics from the Centre of Medical Law and Ethics at King’s College, London in 2006. Her research was funded by the Wellcome Trust (UK) Biomedical Studentship, and an Overseas Research Studentship. Dana gained her Masters in Medical Law and Ethics from King’s College, London in 1998, and has an LLB(Hons) from University of Auckland. Prior to her law degree Dana worked as a registered nurse. From 2015 – 2021 she was the legal representative on the National Ethics Advisory Committee. From 2014 – 2017 she served as Community Representative on the Hospital Advisory Committee of the Nelson Marlborough DHB. She divides her time between the End of Life Review Committee and her work as a researcher for the Child Poverty Action Group.

Ms Brenda Close

Ms Brenda Close (Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa, Ngāti Maniapoto) as a health practitioner member of the Review Committee. Ms Close has been the Director of Nursing at Ashburton Rural Health Services since 2018 and is co-chair Māori of both the Nurses Executive New Zealand and the National Nurse Leaders Group. Ms Close has 31 years’ experience managing and handling sophisticated health needs of people in hospitals and communities across Aotearoa and Australia with a focus on indigenous health, clinical supervision and corporate and clinical governance.

Dr Jane Greville

Dr Jane Greville as a medical practitioner member who practises in end-of-life care. Dr Greville (NZ European) is a Palliative Care Consultant at Harbour Hospice in Auckland and previously worked as the Medical Officer at North Shore Hospice. Dr Greville previously served as a member on the board of Dove Hospice and has over 30 years’ experience working in health care, primarily in general practice, and has been working specifically in palliative care since 2013.

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