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Communtity Law Manual | Disability rights | Communication and information

Health and disability services: Your rights and how to enforce them

Communication and information

Communicating with you in a way you can understand

Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights, Right 5

Disability service providers and health professionals have to communicate with you effectively, including giving you information in a way you can understand. This can include the right to an interpreter.

The Code of Rights says you have the right to an environment that enables open, honest, and effective communication with the health professionals – it’s a problem if things like noise, a provider’s bad attitude, lack of privacy, or bullying between staff get in the way of open communication.

Your right to all the relevant information

Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights, Right 6

You’ve got the right to be fully informed about your situation. You must be given all the information you need to make informed choices or give informed consent.

The health professionals must explain the different options available to you for treatment or other services, including the expected risks, side effects, benefits and costs of each option. They also have to give you an estimate of how long you’ll have to wait for the treatment or service you need. You’ve got the right to get the results of any tests or procedures you have.

When you ask questions, you must be given honest and accurate answers. This includes, for example, when you’re asking for more information about the particular person or service you’re dealing with, like what the individual’s qualifications are, and how to get a second opinion from someone else. It includes when you’re asking questions about an option they’re recommending, and about the results of any research in that area.

You also have the right to get a written summary of any of this information if you ask for one.

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