Your rights as a patient
Whenever you use a health or disability service in New Zealand, you are protected by the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights (Code of Rights).
The Code of Rights applies to both public and private facilities, and to both paid and unpaid services. It gives you as a patient, the right to be treated with respect, receive appropriate care, have proper communication, and be fully informed so you can make an informed choice.
Here's a summary of your rights as a patient:
- You must always be treated with respect.
- You should never be discriminated against, or pressured into anything, or taken advantage of.
- The services you receive should respect your dignity and independence.
- You must be treated with reasonable care and skill and receive well coordinated services.
- Service providers must listen to you and give you clear information that you can understand. If you don't understand, you must feel comfortable about asking questions. This may require the services of an interpreter.
- Your treatment must be fully explained to you, including the benefits, risks, alternatives, and costs, and your questions must be answered honestly.
- You must be able to make your own decisions about your treatment, and be free to change your mind.
- You can (almost) always have a support person with you if you wish.
- These rights also apply if you are asked to take part in research or teaching.
- You have the right to make a notification and have it taken seriously.
For more information on patient rights see Chapter 3 & 28 of Cole's Medical Practice in New Zealand publication or contact the Health and Disability Commissioner through their website.