The committees

There are five regional review committees:

  • Region 1: Groningen, Friesland, Drenthe and the Caribbean Netherlands
    (secretariat in Groningen)
  • Region 2: Overijssel, Gelderland, Utrecht and Flevoland
    (secretariat in Arnhem)
  • Region 3: North Holland
    (secretariat in The Hague)
  • Region 4: South Holland and Zeeland
    (secretariat in The Hague)
  • Region 5: North Brabant and Limburg
    (secretariat in Arnhem)

The regional review committees are competent to assess notifications by physicians of euthanasia or assisted suicide. The place of death determines which committee is competent to review the case in question. The committees reach their findings on a completely independent basis.

Composition

Each committee consists of a physician, an ethicist and a lawyer (who is also the chair) and their alternates. They decide whether the physician who performed euthanasia or assisted in suicide complied with the statutory due care criteria. Each committee is assisted by a secretary (a lawyer) who attends the meetings in an advisory capacity.

Confidentiality

The members and alternate members of the committees have a statutory obligation to maintain confidentiality with regard to information that comes to their attention in the course of their duties, unless they are required by a statutory regulation to disclose certain information or unless the need to disclose certain information is a logical consequence of their responsibilities. One example would be the provision of information to the public prosecutor.

Secretariat staff have a duty of confidentiality derived from that of the committee members they assist. It also derives from their status as public officials and the oath they took in that connection.

Procedure

If the committee finds that the due care criteria have been complied with, the review procedure ends. However, if it decides that the physician did not comply with the due care criteria, the case is passed on to the Board of Procurators General and the Health Care Inspectorate.

Conferences and publications

On request, the committees assist with conferences, symposiums and the training offered by the SCEN organisation (Euthanasia in the Netherlands Support and Assessment Programme). In addition, they contribute to a range of articles in the medical, ethical and legal literature.