Delivering assisted dying services

The delivery of assisted dying, conscientious objection, working with the secretariat Assisted Dying Service, and the funding mechanism.

How the service is delivered

Assisted dying is a free service and the Ministry of Health is responsible for overseeing the provision and funding of assisted dying services. Any medical or nurse practitioner who is suitably qualified, and willing to do so, will be able to provide parts of the assisted dying process, and they can claim for the modules they deliver. Assisted dying services are most likely to be provided in a person’s home or other community settings, rather than in hospital settings. A person’s medical or nurse practitioner can travel to the person to provide care and will be funded for travel costs.

Assisted dying services are delivered as a service between medical and nurse practitioners, working with the secretariat Assisted Dying Service at the Ministry of Health, along with advice and support from the Support and Consultation for End of Life New Zealand (SCENZ) Group. The SCENZ Group maintains the lists of medical and nurse practitioner, and psychiatrists involved in providing assisted dying services. Medical and nurse practitioners who wish to only provide assisted dying services to people already in their care do not have to be on the lists held by the SCENZ Group.

As with other health services, practitioners need to have the right skills and knowledge to provide assisted dying services.

Funding model for assisted dying services

Medical practitioners and nurse practitioners working in primary care, private practice and other non-district health board settings who provide parts of the service can receive funding on a fee for service basis for the parts of the process they provide. 

This printable information sheet for medical and nurse practitioners has information about the funding and delivery model for providing assisted dying services: 

Detailed information about claiming payment through the section 88 notice, including a user guide to the funding mechanism, is available on the Assisted Dying Service provision and payment page.

For questions, email the secretariat Assisted Dying Service [email protected].

Conscientious objection

Any health practitioner may conscientiously object to providing or supporting the provision of assisted dying services. Regardless of personal belief, health practitioners must understand and meet their legal and professional obligations by ensuring continuity of care is maintained for the person and access to lawful medical treatment is not being inhibited.

Health practitioners who conscientiously object to assisted dying should be prepared to respond appropriately if assisted dying is raised with them by someone in their care.

If a medical practitioner with a conscientious objection is asked by a person in their care about assisted dying, they have certain responsibilities under the Act. They must:

  • inform the person of their objection, and
  • tell the person they have the right to ask the SCENZ Group for the name and contact details of a medical practitioner who is willing to participate in assisted dying.

Health practitioners are encouraged to support a person to access assisted dying services by connecting the person to an appropriate medical practitioner. This may be through a referral, or telling them about the SCENZ Group. 

If a person would like help to find a medical practitioner they can contact the SCENZ Group and the secretariat Assisted Dying Service on 0800 223 852 or [email protected].

Working with the Assisted Dying Service secretariat

The Ministry of Health has an assisted dying secretariat to support and oversee the Assisted Dying Service. The secretariat provides a consistent point of contact for the person, their whānau and involved health practitioners. Their role is to provide co-ordination and support throughout the process.

The Registrar (assisted dying) is part of the secretariat. The role of the Registrar includes checking that the processes required by the Act have been complied with to ensure people who wish to receive assisted dying are eligible and notifying the attending medical practitioner if they are satisfied that the processes have been complied with before the administration of assisted dying medication.

Clinical advisors within the secretariat provide information and support to those navigating the assisted dying service, and also provide follow up pastoral support following the assisted death.

The secretariat will work with the SCENZ Group by identifying appropriate practitioners to undertake the assessment process from the SCENZ lists. 

Assisted dying is a sensitive topic and may be difficult for some people. Please talk to your employer if you need support, including access to the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).

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