24 Aug 2012

PM's euthanasia comments upset staff caring for dying

11:01 pm on 24 August 2012

The Australia and New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine says comments by the Prime Minister supporting euthanasia are a slap in the face for palliative care workers.

Labour MP Maryan Street is drafting a member's bill to legalise euthanasia.

Earlier this week, John Key said euthanasia already happens in New Zealand hospitals and if he was terminally ill, he would consider it.

Society chairperson Dr Sinead Donnelly told Nine to Noon euthanasia is not being practised in New Zealand hospitals and the comments show Mr Key doesn't realise the extent of palliative care work done in them.

Dr Donnelly says palliative care workers go to extraordinary lengths to care for people who are dying.

A prominent euthanasia advocate says Fiji is seriously considering his offer to set up a clinic to assist terminally ill Australians to die.

Dr Phillip Nitschke, head of Exit International, has written to Fiji's attorney-general with the proposal, and says his organisation is now hoping to go to Fiji to discuss the details.

Dr Nitschke says Fiji has asked for more information on his proposal.

He says while the struggling Fijian economy would likely see the benefits from the centre, he does not believe that is the motivation.