Patients have rights as consumers of health and disability services provided by doctors and other health professionals in public and private services, for paid and unpaid services, within hospitals and within private practices. The code of rights is law under the Health and Disability Act 1994 (the HDC Act).
The rights of patients can be summarised into 10 points:
- Consumers should always be treated with respect.
- No one should discriminate against consumers, pressure them into anything, or take advantage of them.
- Services should help consumers to live dignified, independent lives.
- Consumers should be treated with reasonable care and skill and receive well coordinated services.
- Service providers should listen to consumers and give them information in a way they can understand and that makes them comfortable to ask questions if they don’t understand. This may require the services of an interpreter.
- Consumers should have any treatment explained to them, including benefits, risks, alternatives, and costs, and have any questions answered honestly.
- Consumers can make their own decisions about treatment, and are free to change their mind.
- Consumers can have a support person with them at most times.
- All these rights apply if consumers are asked to take part in research or teaching.
- Consumers have a right to make a complaint and have it taken seriously.
If you want to read more about patient rights read Chapter 3 & 23 of Coles Medical Practice in New Zealand publication or contact the Health and Disability Commissioner through their website.
Download Information for consumers about conditions on practice (19 July 2012, PDF, 26 KB)