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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. This means that 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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Disability rights

Where to go for more support

COVID-19 information

www.dpa.org.nz/resources/covid-19-information-for-the-disabled-community

The Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA) has up-to-date COVID-19 information for the disabled community on their website. They also post new information on their Facebook page and their Information Exchange newsletter. You can sign up by going to the website linked above. For more information about DPA, see below.

Community Law

www.communitylaw.org.nz

Your local Community Law Centre can provide free initial legal advice and information.

Auckland Disability Law

www.aucklanddisabilitylaw.org.nz

www.communitylaw.org.nz/centre/disability-law

ADL provides assistance and referrals to disabled people on their legal issues, and work with other Community Law Centres, legal professionals and community organisations to raise disability awareness and achieve the best outcome for disabled people.

Office for Disability Issues

www.odi.govt.nz

The Office for Disability Issues is the focal point in government on disability issues.

Human Rights Commission

www.hrc.co.nz/your-rights/your-rights/

This page on the HRC website focuses on the Commission’s work around both individual and systemic disability discrimination. There are resources available in multiple accessible formats.

Health and Disability Commissioner

www.hdc.org.nz

Phone: 0800 11 22 33
Email: hdc@hdc.org.nz

The Health and Disability Commissioner has a range of pamphlets and other information on health and disability issues.

Contact a Health and Disability Advocate

Phone: 0800 555 050

Make a complaint to the Commissioner

Phone: 0800 11 22 33
Email: hdc@hdc.org.nz

PO Box 1791, Auckland

You can make a complaint by phoning the Commissioner’s office toll-free, by email, by filling in the online complaint form or by writing to them.

Ministry of Health Services and Support

www.health.govt.nz/your-health/services-and-support

Publicly funded health and disability services available in New Zealand.

Disabled Persons Assembly

www.dpa.org.nz

The DPA is a pan-disability organisation. DPA works to improve social indicators for disabled people and for disabled people be recognised as valued members of society. DPA and its members work with the wider disability community, other disabled persons’ organisations, government agencies, service providers, international disability organisations and the public.

People First

www.peoplefirst.org.nz

People First New Zealand is a self-advocacy organisation that is led and directed by people with learning (intellectual) disability. People First has a free Disability Information and Advice Service and they also produce legal resources in Easy Read form which are free to download from their website.

Deaf Aotearoa

www.deaf.org.nz

Deaf Aotearoa is a national organisation representing the voice of Deaf people, and the national service provider for Deaf people in New Zealand.

Deaf Aotearoa also works closely with Deaf communities, government agencies and other organisations to increase awareness, promote New Zealand Sign Language and strengthen the rights of Deaf people.

Family Violence – It’s Not OK

www.areyouok.org.nz

Phone: 0800 456 450

“It’s not OK” is a community-driven behaviour change campaign to reduce family violence in New Zealand. Its goal is to change attitudes and behaviour that tolerate any kind of family violence. The website has resources for families who are experiencing abuse. It’s not OK is an initiative housed within the Ministry of Social Development.

Family violence and disabled people

www.areyouok.org.nz/resources/free-resources/domestic-violence-and-disabled-people-accessible-formats

Inclusive Education

www.inclusive.tki.org.nz

This site provides New Zealand educators with practical strategies, suggestions and resources to support the diverse needs of all learners.

Attitude Toolbox: The Whole Truth about Courts and Justice

www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9VF9iCkXS4

This accessible video has information about the New Zealand justice system and courts. The video is presented in New Zealand Sign Language and fully subtitled in English.

New Zealand Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal

www.hpdt.org.nz

This Tribunal hears and determines disciplinary proceedings brought against health practitioners.

Public Trust

www.publictrust.co.nz

Public Trust is New Zealand’s largest provider of Wills and estate administration services.

Te Rōpū Taurima

www.terooputaurima.org.nz

Te Rōpū Taurima is a kaupapa Māori service that supports people of all ethnicities with intellectual impairments around New Zealand.

Le Va

www.leva.co.nz

Le Va supports Pasifika families and communities to unleash their full potential and have the best possible health and wellbeing outcomes.

Blind Low Vision NZ

(previously called Blind Foundation)

www.blindlowvision.org.nz

Blind Low Vision NZ is New Zealand’s main provider of support to New Zealanders who are blind or have low vision.

Achieve

www.achieve.org.nz

Phone: 0800 24 33 33

Achieve is a national network established to ensure equal opportunity and access to post-secondary education and training for people with impairments.

Privacy Commissioner

www.privacy.org.nz

Phone: 0800 803 909
Email: enquiries@privacy.org.nz

You can download the pamphlet “Your Health Information: Know Your Privacy Rights” from the Privacy Commissioner’s website, at: www.privacy.org.nz

You can also download a copy of the Health Information Privacy Code from: www.privacy.org.nz/the-privacy-act-and-codes/codes-of-practice/health-information-privacy-code-1994

Also available as a book

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