Dr 'not surprised' at GP end-of-life medical decision survey

  • 24/07/2015

The Health Select Committee will hold an enquiry on euthanasia following the Lecretia Seales right-to-die case, it was announced this week.

A survey just released confirms that doctors are already making end-of-life medical decisions for their patients, with 16 percent withholding treatment to speed up death.

Nearly 5 percent of doctors report prescribing, supplying or administering a drug with the explicit purpose of hastening the end of life.

Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners president Dr Tim Malloy joined Paul Henry this morning to discuss how this is the first time he has ever seen numbers like this, but he "isn't surprised".

He says that the issue of prescribing supplying or administering drugs to hasten the end of life is "a lot of complicated" than simply calling it euthanisation.

"I don't think that 4.5 percent of doctors deliberately breached the law – the way the question was asked much more complicated and it meant that there was a risk that that might occur in the actions that we take."

Watch the video for the full interview with Dr Tim Malloy.