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Communtity Law Manual | Disability rights | Respect, dignity, fairness

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

Respect, dignity, fairness

Being treated with respect

Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights, Right 1

You have the right to be treated with respect at all times. This includes the right to services that take into account the needs, values, and beliefs of your particular cultural, religious, social or ethnic group.

Respect also includes respect for your physical privacy – for example, you can complain to the Health and Disability Commissioner if a doctor doesn’t close the curtains properly when examining you.

A different kind of privacy – privacy for your health records and other health information – is also protected. We explain this in “Privacy and your health information” later in this section.

Fair treatment

Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights, Right 2

You must be treated fairly. You mustn’t be discriminated against, whether on the grounds of disability or for other illegal reasons like your ethnicity or your sexual orientation. You can’t be coerced (forced or pressured into doing something), or harassed, or exploited in any way – sexually, financially or any other way.

If you believe a health professional has discriminated against you, you’ve got the option of either complaining to the Health and Disability Commissioner about a breach of the Code, or to the Human Rights Commission about a breach of the Human Rights Act.

Dignity and independence

Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights, Right 3

You’ve got the right to be treated in a way that respects your dignity and independence.

Support

Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights, Right 8

You’ve also got the right to have a support person or people with you when you’re being treated, provided it’s safe to have them there and won’t unreasonably affect the rights of anyone else using the service.

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