Communication & consent

The Council's communication and consent standards are about doctors' interactions with patients and family members. They cover how doctors should convey information, including the use of communications technology; the importance of trust between doctors and patients when discussing treatment options and making informed choices; the maintenance of patient records; and how doctors should advertise their services.

  • Patients are entitled to information about their health and the care they are receiving. This statement outlines what we expect of doctors when helping patients to make an informed decision about their care and treatment.

  • Internet, email, and other forms of electronic communication are ways in which doctors communicate with patients and other health professionals, find information, and participate in informed discussion. This statement guides doctors on the use of email and other forms of social media.

  • Statement on telehealth

    Telehealth is the use of information and video conferencing technologies to deliver health services to a patient or to transmit information regarding that patient between two or more locations. This statement outlines our expectation of doctors who practise telehealth in New Zealand and overseas, and includes guidance on registration, conducting physical examinations and prescribing.

  • Ending a doctor patient relationship

    Doctor-patient relationships can come to an end for a variety of reasons, commonly when the patient moves to another area or chooses to see another doctor, but also when the relationship breaks down and either the doctor or patient decides to discontinue the professional relationship. We outline in this statement the process for discontinuing patient care, and the need to do so in a fair and professional manner.

  • Maintenance and retention of patient records

    Maintaining clinical records is part of good medical practice. Clinical notes are an important tool for managing the patient's care, and communicating with other doctors and health professionals. This statement guides doctors on what information they should record, and for how long they should retain patients' records.

  • Disclosure of harm following an adverse event

    Disclosure of harm refers to instances where a patient has been adversely affected as a direct result of receiving medical treatment. Open disclosure in this situation promotes transparency, can strengthen the doctor-patient relationship and is important for the health and safety of the public in general. This statement includes guidance on communicating with patients and their families when harm has occurred, and support avenues in those instances.

  • When another person is present during a consultation

    A doctor or patient may want another person present during a consultation. This could be as a support person or interpreter for the patient, an observer or chaperone for the doctor, or a student or trainee. This statement outlines factors to consider when a third party attends a consultation, and the obligations and rights of the doctor, patient, and third party.

  • Statement on advertising

    The purpose of this statement is to protect the public from advertising that is false, misleading or deceptive, and to
    provide guidance to doctors about the advertising of health-related products and services.