The barrier that stopped nurse practitioners being able to issue death certificates but not sign cremation certificates has now been removed.

NPs expressed frustration in February at discovering that new legislation that came into effect on January 31 had removed many legal barriers to their practice but the Cremation Regulations had remain unchanged.  This meant NPs were still unable to complete all the paperwork for patients’ families at a patient’s death.

Dr Jill Clendon, the acting Chief Nursing Officer, said today that the Cremation Regulations have now been amended so NPs can complete a cremation certificate.

“A nurse practitioner who provides the care for a person in their last months of life and has developed a relationship with their family can now complete both the death certificate and cremation certificate,” said Clendon.

She said about two-thirds of all people who die choose to be cremated and require an authorised health practitioner to sign a cremation certificate. “This change enables continuity of care for patients and families, timely completion of certification and ultimately less distress to a grieving family.”

On January 31, seven of eight Acts changed when the Health Practitioners (Replacement of Statutory References to Medical Practitioners) Bill came into force, enabling nurse practitioners and other health professionals to do more for patients.

Roles changed under the new legislation included:

  • signing death certificates
  • taking blood specimens from drink drivers
  • declaring people unfit to drive
  • prescribing controlled drugs
  • signing sick leave certificates.

The eight bills enacted to amend the parent Acts were:

  • Accident Compensation Amendment Bill (No 2).
  • Burial and Cremation Amendment Bill.
  • Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Amendment Bill (No 2) Holidays Amendment Bill (No 2).
  • Holidays Amendment Bill (No 2).
  • Land Transport Amendment Bill (No 3).
  • Medicines Amendment Bill.
  • Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Amendment Bill Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill (No 2).
  • Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill (No 2).

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