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Euthanasia referendum: Should it be a health priority for New Zealand at present?

first_imgStuff co.nz 19 September 2020Family First Comment: Important questions: “If the referendum is passed, money and time will be put into establishing a bureaucracy to deliver aid in dying, and doctors will have to provide the service. This represents an opportunity cost, as these resources cannot be spent on other aspects of the health system. To comply with the law there is a lot to do. There are committees to be formed and policies to be written. All doctors will need to decide if they want to take part. All practices and hospitals will have to respond to someone who seeks assisted dying”OPINION: Discussion of the euthanasia referendum has mostly been around the ethical question of whether euthanasia should be allowed. There has been little discussion about whether this is a priority for action now.If the referendum is passed, money and time will be put into establishing a bureaucracy to deliver aid in dying, and doctors will have to provide the service. This represents an opportunity cost, as these resources cannot be spent on other aspects of the health system.To comply with the law there is a lot to do. There are committees to be formed and policies to be written. All doctors will need to decide if they want to take part. All practices and hospitals will have to respond to someone who seeks assisted dying and that is likely to lead to a lot of discussion and debate.Hospices have already said they will not do this but what about all the other providers? Whilst the financial costs will be balanced by the money saved in someone dying earlier and not requiring some pension or some care costs, the personnel resource and the time spent setting systems up needed to do all this is still problematic.What is the size of the potential quality of life benefit?If the referendum passes, we don’t know how many people would seek aid in dying. A reasonable comparison would be with Oregon.Oregon has a population of 4.2 million (New Zealand 5 million) and has had a Death with Dignity Act in force for the past 22 years. Their Act is similar to ours. Their experience is that patients are older, on average 74 years (range 33-98 years).Just over 50 per cent of patients had a university degree and 96 per cent of patients were white. In 2019 a total of 188 people were assisted to die, 0.51 per cent of total deaths.During the first five years of the Act around 25 people a year (around 0.08% of total deaths) were assisted to die. Whilst there are differences between Oregon and New Zealand, we are alike enough for this to give us some idea of what might happen here.If this level of demand is reflected in New Zealand, then it will benefit a few people from a group who can afford the costs and who already get significant benefit from our health system.– Ben Gray is a senior lecturer in Primary Health Care and General Practice at University of Otago, Wellington.READ MORE: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/euthanasia-debate/300107980/euthanasia-referendum-should-it-be-a-health-priority-for-new-zealand-at-present?cid=app-iPhonelast_img read more

The Latest: Tennessee restricts Neyland tickets to 25%

first_img August 25, 2020 The Latest: Tennessee restricts Neyland tickets to 25% The Volunteers’ first home game is Oct. 3 against Missouri and university officials say restrictions could change during the season based on statewide virus data and recommendations from public health officials. Tennessee asked fans statewide to wear masks in public.Athletic director Phillip Fulmer says he empathizes with the thousands of fans who won’t get to go to games in Neyland this fall. Fulmer says the circumstances are beyond the control of Tennessee officials and they will do their best to create the safest environment both inside and outside the stadium.Current students and active donors to the Tennessee Fund with season tickets get top priority for tickets and season tickets will be offered based on annual amount given and the order to the Tennessee Fund.The original prices for season tickets will not change with Tennessee set to host five Southeastern Conference opponents for the first time since 1959.Students can start requesting tickets issued on a game-by-game basis Sept. 23. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditThe Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:___Tennessee will be selling tickets for approximately 25% of the seats at Neyland Stadium for this season.center_img Associated Press ___More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sportslast_img read more