Nurses back assisted dying more than doctors - study

  • 02/06/2017
Nurse
The study, published in the NZ Medical Journal, highlighted barriers to legal assisted dying. Photo credit: Getty

Over a third of New Zealand doctors and two-thirds of nurses support legalising assisted dying (AD), according to an Auckland University study.

Of those who would be willing in principle to provide AD services, most said there should be ethical and practical support available to doctors and nurses making those decisions. That would ensure procedures were carried out correctly.

Those respondents also overwhelmingly saw the provision of most of that support as the responsibility of the medical and nursing professional bodies.

The study involved an online survey in which there were 770 replies.

Of the 300 doctors who took part, 37 percent supported legalising AD in New Zealand. Among the 470 nurses, 67 percent were in favour.

The study, published in the NZ Medical Journal, highlighted barriers to legal AD.

These included having enough health workers trained and willing in the practice, clear protections within legislation for professionals, and guidelines and standards for practice.

The authors noted that many doctors still opposed AD, suggesting it remained far off in New Zealand.

However, if it were to become legalised in this country, training programmes and protocol should be established well in advance.

NZN