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Tagged: your rights

Your Rights

About this guide
Rights in New Zealand
Complaint avenues
How to complain
For further information

 

About this guide

  • This guide provides an overview of your rights in the NZ health system
  • Information is presented in a summary format to convey key points and provide links to more detailed information
  • Key sources of information in this guide are the Health & Disability Commissioner, Human Rights Commission and Privacy Commissioner - links to relevant detailed information from these sources are provided
  • We welcome suggestions to improve this guide and hope you find it a useful starting point

 

Rights in New Zealand

Disability & Human Rights

The Human Rights Commission provides a human rights enquiries and complaints service
About human rights in New Zealand, the Human Rights Commission, human rights enquiries and complaints, and the Human Rights Act and disability

Code of Consumer Rights

The Code of Rights establishes the rights of consumers, and the obligations and duties of providers to comply with the Code for all health and disability services
About the Code of Rights, summary version, and who the code applies to
Breaches of the Code provide the basis of complaints to the Health & Disability Commissioner

Privacy Rights

The Privacy Act and Codes of Practice control how "agencies" collect, use, disclose, store and give access to "personal information".
About the Privacy Act, making a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner and the Health Information Privacy Code

Informed Consent

The right to make an informed choice and give informed consent is one of the rights within The Code of Consumer Rights
About informed consent and children and consent

Health & Disability Commissioner

The Commissioner enforces the Code of Consumers' Rights (the Code)
About the Commissioner

Complaint avenues

Complaints to the service provider

In most cases complaining to the service provider is a good first step. If the issue becomes unresolved or if the complaint is of a very serious nature it may be appropriate to raise the complaint with one of the following

Human Rights Complaints

If your complaint relates to human rights you can complain to the Human Rights Commission

Code of Consumer Rights Complaints

If your rights under the Code of Consumer Rights have been breached you can complain to the Health & Disability Commissioner (Making a complaint below)

Privacy Complaints

If your privacy has been "interfered" with you can complain to the Privacy Commissioner

Complaints to Health Profession Associations

A number of professions also provide complaint processes that may be helpful in resolving complaints

How to Complain

Making a Complaint

Why make a complaint, how to complain and who to, complaint responses, and compensation
Includes information about the Health & Disability Advocacy Service and complaints to the Health & Disability Commissioner

Self-Advocacy

Self-advocacy is a form of "Do it yourself" trouble-shooting and problem-solving

For further information

 

Last updated: January 2012

DISCLAIMER

The information above is of a general nature and is designed to provide you with an overview of the topic with links to resources that maybe of interest.  Although we do our best to ensure that this information is accurate and up to date, you should not rely solely on the information provided here.

You should always seek specific professional medical advice, treatment and care appropriate to you, and as such we strongly recommend you consult with your general practitioner.

  • 29 Jan 2012

Self Advocacy

Self-Advocacy Steps
Why complain
For further information

 

  • Self-advocacy is a form of "Do it yourself" trouble-shooting and problem-solving
  • The following Self-advocacy steps are sourced from the Health & Disability Commission website

 

Self-advocacy Steps

 

If you are not satisfied with a health or disability service, you may be able to resolve the problem yourself by taking the following steps …

1 Know your issues
Make sure you are clear about what your issues are.
Write a list. (This can be very helpful if you are feeling angry, upset or distressed by what has happened.) Talk the issues over with a friend you respect.
2 Identify a solution
Ask yourself: "What do I need to put it right?"

3 Find the next step
How have I resolved such issues previously?
What options do I have?

4 Identify any support you need
What support do I need as I go about resolving this? Do I want whanau, family or friends to support me?

5 Communicate your issue
Write the service provider a letter of complaint which you can post, fax or email to them, OR
telephone them and ask to meet with the person/staff members who upset you, and the complaints officer (if there is one) or someone else from the service to discuss the complaint.

6 Have a meeting
A face-to-face meeting (kanohi a kanohi) is an effective way of raising your issues and resolving complaints.

In the meeting you can:
  • tell your story
  • listen to their explanations
  • agree on what will put matters right (this might include discussing changes to the service so what happened to you does not happen again to you or to someone else)
  • accept their apologies (if this is appropriate)
  • agree on "Where to from here?"


Need some help?
You can call a Health and Disability Advocate to assist you: Free-phone 0800 555 050.

 

 

Why complain?

  • To improve the quality of services
  • So what happened to you, won't happen to someone else
  • To have an acknowledgement of what happened
  • To have an explanation and an apology
  • To prompt changes in practice and the way services are provided that will benefit other consumers

 

For further information

 

Last updated: January 2012

DISCLAIMER

The information above is of a general nature and is designed to provide you with an overview of the topic with links to resources that maybe of interest.  Although we do our best to ensure that this information is accurate and up to date, you should not rely solely on the information provided here.

You should always seek specific professional medical advice, treatment and care appropriate to you, and as such we strongly recommend you consult with your general practitioner.

  • 25 Jan 2012

Privacy Rights

The Privacy Act 1993
Complaints to the Privacy Commissioner
The Health Information Privacy Code
For further information

 

The Privacy Act 1993

  • The Privacy Act 1993 is New Zealand's main privacy law governing personal information about individual people
  • The Privacy Act 1993 is administered by the Privacy Commissioner
  • The Privacy Commissioner has the power to issue codes of practice that become part of the law, such as the Health Information Privacy Code
  • The Privacy Commissioner's Office works to develop and promote a culture in which personal information is protected and respected
  • The Office of the Privacy Commissioner is an Independent Crown Entity, funded by the State, but independent of government or Ministerial control
  • The Privacy Act and Codes of Practice control how "agencies" collect, use, disclose, store and give access to "personal information"
  • Almost every person or organisation that holds personal information is an "agency"

 

Complaints to the Privacy Commissioner

 

  • One responsibility of the Privacy Commissioner is to investigate complaints about interferences with Privacy
  • An interference with privacy can occur when:


(a) an agency wrongfully refuses to give an individual access to information about them, or wrongfully refuses to correct information about them, or
(b) an individual suffers some form of harm as a result of a breach of a privacy principle, rule, or a code of practice or information matching provision.

  • Anyone can make a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner
  • There is no requirement to show harm in a complaint about access to or correction of personal information
  • You do not have to pay to make a complaint
  • The Commissioner will often try to settle the complaint by conciliation and mediation
  • Many privacy complaints can be solved without a formal investigation
  • The Privacy Commissioner is impartial and does not take the side of either party
  • The Privacy Commissioner cannot fine or prosecute anyone
  • The Privacy Act aims to settle privacy disputes and aims to educate people on how to comply with the Act
  • The rules in the Code of Practice are enforceable by complaining to the Privacy Commissioner's office, and then, if necessary, to the Human Rights Review Tribunal

 

Before making a formal complaint to the Privacy Commissioner:
  • Contact the agency and let it know what the problem is - see if the problem can be resolved without the privacy commissioner getting involved
  • You can ask for the agencies privacy officer - all agencies are supposed to have one (someone who is familiar with the Act, and with the agency’s information handling practices)
  • Call the Privacy Commissioners enquiries line (phone 0800 803 909) or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To lodge a complaint:

 

The Health Information Privacy Code

  • The code regulates how health agencies (such as doctors, nurses, pharmacists, health insurers, ACC and hospitals) collect, hold, use and disclose health information about identifiable individuals
  • Health information includes prescriptions, notes, diagnoses, test results and records of conversations.
  • All health agencies must have reasonable security safeguards for your information
  • Purpose: Agencies must know why they are collecting health information and collect only the information they need. Once health information has been collected from a patient for a particular purpose, it can be used or disclosed for that purpose without additional consent.
  • Openness: Agencies need to let patients know how their information is going to be used and disclosed so the patients can make decisions about whether to provide it.
  • Health agencies information obligations are set out in the 12 rules of the code
  • Rule 6 gives individuals the right to access information about themselves and rule 7 gives them the right to seek correction of that information if they think it is inaccurate or misleading
  • If you ask to see your health information, a health agency has up to 20 working days to respond
  • Sometimes the law allows your health information to be disclosed even when you disagree

The code recognises that patients expect their health information:
  • to be kept confidential
  • to be treated as sensitive, because it may include details about body, lifestyle, emotions and behaviour
  • may have ongoing use if a piece of medical information becomes clinically relevant even a long time after it was initially collected
  • will be used for the purposes for which it was originally collected and they will be told about those purposes

 

Who else may be able to access your health records?
  • if you are under 16 your parents or guardians
  • if you are unconscious or otherwise unable to give consent someone who is acting for you
    (like a person with a power of attorney)
  • your insurance company as long as you have given it permission
  • a law enforcement body such as the Police

 

For further information

 

 

Last updated: January 2012

DISCLAIMER

The information above is of a general nature and is designed to provide you with an overview of the topic with links to resources that maybe of interest.  Although we do our best to ensure that this information is accurate and up to date, you should not rely solely on the information provided here.

You should always seek specific professional medical advice, treatment and care appropriate to you, and as such we strongly recommend you consult with your general practitioner.

 

  • 25 Jan 2012

Informed Consent

About informed consent
Children and informed consent
For further information

 

About informed consent

  • The right to make an informed choice and give informed consent is one of the rights within The Code of Consumer Rights
  • Informed consent is a process rather than a one-off event
  • The essential elements are effective communication (Right 5), full information (Right 6), and freely given, competent consent (Right 7)
  • The Code presumes that every consumer is competent to make an informed choice and give informed consent, unless there are reasonable grounds for believing that the consumer is not competent
  • Written consent is generally required for research, experimental procedures, general or regional anaesthesia, blood transfusion or any procedure with a significant risk of adverse effects
  • Consent should be obtained for involvement of trainees in the care of patients. You should be informed about the extent of the involvement of the trainee and the trainee’s experience
  • The code covers all health and disability services
  • The code is enforced by the Health & Disability Commissioner

 

Children and informed consent

  • The Code does not specify an age for consent
  • A provider must assess a child’s competency to decide whether he or she is able to give informed consent
  • Generally, a competent child is one who is able to understand the nature, purpose and possible consequences of the proposed investigation or treatment, as well as the consequences of non-treatment
  • Children over the age of 16 are considered legal adults (s 25 of the Guardianship Act 1968)
  • The Act states that a female of any age has the right to consent or refuse to give consent to any medical or surgical procedure for the purpose of terminating her pregnancy

 

For further information

 

 

Last updated: January 2012

 

DISCLAIMER
The information above is of a general nature and is designed to provide you with an overview of the topic with links to resources that maybe of interest.  Although we do our best to ensure that this information is accurate and up to date, you should not rely solely on the information provided here.


You should always seek specific professional medical advice, treatment and care appropriate to you, and as such we strongly recommend you consult with your general practitioner.

  • 25 Jan 2012

Making a Complaint

Why complain?
Making a complaint
Complaint responses
Compensation
For further information

 

Why complain?

  • To improve the quality of services
  • So what happened to you, won't happen to someone else
  • To have an acknowledgement of what happened
  • To have an explanation and an apology
  • To prompt changes in practice and the way services are provided that will benefit other consumers

 

Making a complaint

 

You have the right to make a complaint about a provider in the way you prefer

  • Verbally
  • In person or by phone
  • In writing by letter, fax or email

 

You can make your complaint to:

 

Complaint responses

The provider must
  • Listen to your concerns
  • Keep you informed about their complaints process and what is happening with your complaint
  • Deal with your complaint promptly
  • Provide an explanation about any decisions and actions taken as a result of your complaint

Health and disability advocate service
  • A health and disability advocate will listen to your concerns
  • Explain the options available to you to resolve your complaint
  • Will support and assist you in the actions you choose to take to resolve your concerns
  • The service is free, confidential, and independent of all service providers
  • The advocacy service reports to an independent Director of Advocacy
  • Advocacy is a very successful way of resolving complaints
  • Complaints are usually resolved more quickly with advocacy than other options

Health and Disability Commissioner (HDC)

The Commissioner may:

  • Send the matter to a health and disability advocate to assist the complainant
  • Send the complaint to the provider to sort out
  • Refer the matter to another agency such as the Ministry of Health, a registration authority for health practitioners, the Privacy Commissioner or a Mental Health District Inspector
  • Investigate the matter

 

HDC Formal Investigations
  • An investigation takes time as the process needs to allow everyone involved in the complaint to have their say
  • A simple investigation usually takes six to nine months, a complex investigation can take eighteen months to two years
  • Not all complaints that are investigated are found to be a breach of the Code
  • The Commissioner is impartial
  • You can expect regular communication from the Commissioner’s office until a final decision is made
  • You can expect an explanation about how the Commissioner has decided to deal with your complaint and what the final decision is
  • The Commissioner investigates a small number of all complaints
  • You can seek representation from a lawyer at your own cost during the investigation process - legal representation is not necessary and is not sought by the majority of complainants
  • The most common recommendations for a provider who has not met the obligations under the Code are:
    • an apology
    • a change in the way he or she does things
    • changes to organisational policies
  • The Commissioner may refer a complaint to the Director of Proceedings when a breach of the code is found
  • The Director is an independent prosecutor who can take a case to the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal (HPDT) or to the Human Rights Review Tribunal (HRRT), or both

 

Compensation

  • The Health & Disability Commissioner does not have any power to give compensation
  • The Commissioner does not usually ask providers to pay complainants
  • Providers may agree to a refund as part of resolving the complaint
  • Some consumers may be entitled to ACC compensation if they have suffered a personal injury from their treatment
  • In certain limited circumstances, damages are awarded by the Human Rights Review Tribunal (HRRT)

 

For further information

 

Last updated: January 2012

DISCLAIMER

The information above is of a general nature and is designed to provide you with an overview of the topic with links to resources that maybe of interest.  Although we do our best to ensure that this information is accurate and up to date, you should not rely solely on the information provided here.

You should always seek specific professional medical advice, treatment and care appropriate to you, and as such we strongly recommend you consult with your general practitioner.

  • 25 Jan 2012

Health & Disability Commissioner

About the Health & Disability Commissioner
Code of Consumers' Rights (the Code)
For further information

 

About the Health & Disability Commissioner

  • The Health and Disability Commissioner is an independent agency set up to:
    •    promote and protect the rights of consumers who use health and disability services
    •    help resolve problems between consumers and providers of health and disability services
  • All health and disability services are covered
  • The Commissioner enforces a Code of Consumers' Rights (the Code), which gives all consumers of health and disability services ten rights

 

Health and disability services covered includes:
  • Public and private services
  • Paid and unpaid services
  • Hospitals
  • Individuals such as general practitioners, dentists, naturopaths and caregivers
  • People who care for family members

 

Code of Consumers' Rights (the Code)

 

The ten rights of consumers and the duties of providers (from Clause 2 of the Code of Consumers' Rights)

  1. You should always be treated with respect.
  2. No one should discriminate against you, pressure you into anything, or take advantage of you.
  3. Services should help you live a dignified, independent life.
  4. You should be treated with care and skill and receive well co-ordinated services.
  5. Service providers should listen to you and give you information in a way you can understand and that makes you comfortable to ask questions if you don't understand.
  6. You should have your condition explained to you, including benefits, risks, alternatives and costs of treatment, and have any questions answered honestly.
  7. You can make your own decisions and are free to change your mind.
  8. You can have a support person with you at most times.
  9. All these rights apply if you are asked to take part in research or teaching.
  10. Your right to make a complaint about services must be taken seriously.



For further information

 

Last updated: January 2012

DISCLAIMER

The information above is of a general nature and is designed to provide you with an overview of the topic with links to resources that maybe of interest.  Although we do our best to ensure that this information is accurate and up to date, you should not rely solely on the information provided here.

You should always seek specific professional medical advice, treatment and care appropriate to you, and as such we strongly recommend you consult with your general practitioner.

  • 25 Jan 2012

Code of Consumer Rights

About the Code of Rights
The Code of Rights (Summary Version)
Who does the Code apply to?
For further information

 

About the Code of Rights

  • The Code of Rights establishes the rights of consumers, and the obligations and duties of providers to comply with the Code for all health and disability services
  • It is a regulation under the Health and Disability Commissioner Act
  • For the full version see the Health and Disability Commissioner - The Code (full)
  • The Health & Disability Commissioner enforces the Code of Rights
  • A free Advocacy service is available with trained advocates to assist you in resolving complaints with service providers
  • If a service provider breaches your rights and the complaint is unresolved you can complain to the Health & Disability Commissioner, usually after using the advocacy service

 

The Code of Rights (Summary Version)

 

Clause 1
This establishes the duties and obligations of providers to comply with the Code, to ensure they promote awareness of it to consumers and enable consumers to exercise their rights.

Clause 2
This details the ten rights of consumers and the duties of providers.
Right 1: the right to be treated with respect
Right 2: the right to freedom from discrimination, coercion, harassment, and exploitation
Right 3: the right to dignity and independence
Right 4: the right to services of an appropriate standard
Right 5: the right to effective communication
Right 6: the right to be fully informed
Right 7: the right to make an informed choice and give informed consent
Right 8: the right to support
Right 9: rights in respect of teaching or research
Right 10: the right to complain

Clause 3
Sets out provider compliance requirements and states that where the rights cannot be met then the onus is on the provider to show that it was reasonable in the circumstances not to have done so.
This reasonableness test will be applied and developed over time. It is expected that over time, greater compliance will be demanded of providers. This clause gives some flexibility in terms of a gradual implementation of these rights.

Clause 4
Establishes certain definitions where these are appropriate and elaborates on some of the definitions in the Act.

Clause 5
Notes that in meeting the rights no provider is required to break any other New Zealand law.

Clause 6
Ensures that all existing rights outside of the regulation still apply.

Who does the Code apply to?

  • The Code applies to any person or organisation providing a health service to the public or to a section of the public - whether that service is paid for or not
  • With regard to disability services, it extends to goods, services, and facilities provided to people with disabilities for their care or support, or to promote their independence, or for related or incidental purposes
  • Disability services do not have to be provided to the public in order to be covered by this legislation
  • The Code covers all registered health professionals, such as doctors, nurses, dentists etc, and also covers naturopaths, homeopaths, acupuncturists, and so on
  • As well as applying to individual providers, the Code also applies to hospitals and other health and disability institutions
  • It allows the Commissioner to enquire into systems issues across professional boundaries
  • It does not extend to purchasing decisions or confer entitlement to any particular service

 

For further information

 

Last updated: January 2012

DISCLAIMER

The information above is of a general nature and is designed to provide you with an overview of the topic with links to resources that maybe of interest.  Although we do our best to ensure that this information is accurate and up to date, you should not rely solely on the information provided here.

You should always seek specific professional medical advice, treatment and care appropriate to you, and as such we strongly recommend you consult with your general practitioner.

  • 25 Jan 2012

Disability and Human Rights

Human rights in New Zealand
About the Human Rights Commission
Human rights enquiries and complaints
The Human Rights Act and disability
For further information

 

Human rights in New Zealand

  • Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled
  • There are two laws in New Zealand that specifically promote and protect human rights - the Human Rights Act 1993, and the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990
  • The Human Rights Act sets out the primary functions of the Human Rights Commission
  • The New Zealand Bill of Rights Act sets out a range of civil and political rights, which arise from the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
  • The NZ Bill of Rights Act includes the right to freedom of expression, the right to religious belief, and the right to freedom of movement, and the right to be free from discrimination

 

About the Human Rights Commission

 

The Human Rights Commission:
  • Advocates and promotes respect for human rights in New Zealand
  • Encourages harmonious relations between individuals and among the diverse groups in New Zealand
  • Leads, evaluates, monitors and advises on equal employment opportunities
  • Provides information to the public about discrimination and to help resolve complaints about discrimination
  • For more information see Human Rights Commission - About the Human Rights Commission

 

Human rights enquiries and complaints

  • The Commission provides a human rights enquiries and complaints service
  • The service is free and confidential
  • The Commission’s dispute resolution process is limited to unlawful discrimination complaints
  • To use the service you can freephone 0800 496 877, email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , fill out an online complaint form, or for more options see Human Rights Commission - What do I do
  • If your complaint looks like unlawful discrimination mediation is an option
  • Mediation settles most complaints
  • If mediation does not work a complainant can take their issue to the Human Rights Review Tribunal
  • For more information on the enquiries and complaints service see Human Rights Commission - What happens
  • The Commission also addresses broader human rights issues. These include human rights issues other than discrimination relating, for example to disability, housing, education, detention, employment and race relations

The Human Rights Act and Disability

  • It is unlawful to discriminate on the basis of disability in any of the areas of public life covered by the Act
  • The Act covers disabilities, which people have presently, have had in the past, or which they are believed to have
  • It is also unlawful to discriminate against relatives or associates of people with a disability, because of that disability. This can mean, for example, a spouse, carer or business partner
  • There are a number of exceptions where it is not unlawful to discriminate on the ground of disability

 

Disability under the Human Rights Act covers:
  • Physical disability or impairment (e.g. respiratory conditions)
  • Physical illness
  • Psychiatric illness (e.g. depression or schizophrenia)
  • Intellectual or psychological disability or impairment (e.g. learning disorders)
  • Any other loss or abnormality of psychological, physiological or anatomical structure or function (e.g. arthritis or amputation)
  • Reliance on a guide dog, wheelchair or other remedial means
  • The presence in the body of organisms capable of causing illness (e.g. HIV/AIDS or hepatitis).

 

For further information

 

Last updated: January 2012

DISCLAIMER

The information above is of a general nature and is designed to provide you with an overview of the topic with links to resources that maybe of interest.  Although we do our best to ensure that this information is accurate and up to date, you should not rely solely on the information provided here.

You should always seek specific professional medical advice, treatment and care appropriate to you, and as such we strongly recommend you consult with your general practitioner.

 

  • 25 Jan 2012