In May 2008, PCNSW released a Discussion Paper on The Extinction of Life: Obtaining death certificates for palliative
care patients dying at home. The Paper raised concerns about the increasing confusion surrounding the legal
obligation to report deaths to police where a doctor is not available to legally certify the death of a palliative care
patient at home.
PCNSW concluded that a factor contributing to the confusion in this area was the NSW Health Policy Directive “Assessment
of the Extinction of Life and Certification of Death” (PD2005_488) which was ambiguous about legislative requirements
and has led to a “risk averse” approach to reporting deaths to the Coroner.
PCNSW is pleased to report that the NSW Ministry of Health has released a revised Policy Directive that seeks to address this ambiguity. You can download the Policy Directive here.
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