Enough doctors support euthanasia to make it work

  • 27/07/2018

There are enough medical practitioners in favour of the proposed End of Life Choice Bill to make it operable, researchers say.

The Bill passed its first reading in December through a conscience vote - 76 MPs voted in favour and 44 against.

Backed by ACT MP David Seymour, the Bill seeks to give adults suffering a terminal illness or a grievous or incurable medical condition the option of medically assisted death.

A Newshub-Reid Research poll found 71 percent of the country supports euthanasia, with 19.5 percent against and 9.5 percent unsure.

Around a third of doctors would be willing to assist people to die, but only 24 percent were willing to write a prescription allowing the patient to cause their own death.

Report author and retired specialist Jack Havill says this is enough to make it work, but getting more doctors onside is important.

"We would like to see the leading medical organisations taking a constructive part [in the Bill]," he said.

He said the traditional stance against the Bill is shifting.

"I think they have to revise their opinion in view of the large number of doctors who actually do support the Bill," he said.

Some doctors are vocally against the Bill, one telling Newshub in April she was concerned about doctors making mistakes.

"Medicine is not an exact science - we make mistakes in making diagnosis, we make mistakes in prognostication," palliative medicine specialist Dr Selina Lupati said.