More palliative care funding wanted as assisted dying becomes legal

Source: 1News

Bobbie Carroll has spent the last five years with cancer, and she expects she has another year or two to live.

When the time does come, she told 1News she wanted it to be on her terms. 

The euthanasia advocate said it was about choice. 

“I decided it was going to live my life and not live my death.”

From Sunday, assisted dying is legal in New Zealand and can be requested by people who meet certain criteria

In October last year, 65 per cent of New Zealanders voted 'yes' in a referendum to bring the End of Life Choice Act into force. 

But while many will be relieved, others remain concerned and want other options, like more support for palliative care. 

Palliative care professor Rod MacLeod said despite the Act being called “End of Life Choice”, there would be some people who didn’t have a choice because they couldn’t opt to access palliative care. 

He said it was a lottery because hospice services rely heavily on charity. 

“It depends on where you live, it depends on the disease that you might be experiencing, it depends on your ethnicity sometimes,” he said. 

“So, I think at the moment, although we have good palliative care services in the country, it's not evenly distributed in any way.”

MacLeod said the Government should boost its funding of the services.

Meanwhile, the ACT Party, who championed the new law, said the changes would be significant for many. 

“That gives them comfort, just knowing that choice is there, even though they might not take it,” ACT deputy leader Brooke van Velden said. 

“There are unfortunately a handful of people at any given time who are suffering terribly at the end of their life. This will give more control, choice, and compassion for them.”