University of Auckland researcher to speak at Euthanasia 2016 conference

by Matthew Jansen, Care Alliance, 6 January 2016

University of Auckland researcher Dr Pam Oliver will speak at the Euthanasia 2016 conference in Amsterdam in May this year.

Dr Oliver is scheduled to speak about ‘Improving the legislation to reduce barriers to assisted dying’.

Dr Oliver and her colleague Dr Phillipa Malpas were at the centre of controversy last year when their research project ‘Attitudes of the medical and nursing professions towards the potential legalisation of assisted dying in New Zealand’ was the subject of complaints to the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee. Their survey had been widely distributed to New Zealand doctors and nurses with the statement that “we are independent”.

Participants were not told that Drs Oliver and Malpas are both members of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society.

It has since emerged that Dr Oliver was the author of the ‘End of Life Care Bill’. This was not disclosed to the University.

Matthew Jansen, Secretary of the Care Alliance, said that “before she takes the international stage, Dr Oliver should explain to the New Zealand doctors and nurses who participated in her survey exactly what she meant by ‘independent’. I believe that she had an obligation to inform participants that she is, in fact, an advocate of legalising assisted suicide.”

Mr Jansen confirmed that his ethics complaint had now been referred to the Health Research Council.

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