3. Health and Disability Commissioner (HDC)
You may need to go to HDC if:
- the issue is very serious, eg malpractice or neglect
- if you still feel the issue is unresolved after talking with the health or disability care provider.
The Commissioner does not represent one side over the other.
Their role is to:
- give people using health and disability services a voice
- hold health and disability services to account for improving their practices
- stop similar things happening to other people.
- organisation or system-wide problems, eg a doctors or dental surgery, care home, ambulance service, hospital.
- problems with individuals, eg a doctor, massage therapist, carer, nurse.
Who can complain
Anyone can complain to HDC about a health or disability service. This includes:
- the person who received the care
- a family member or friend
- a health or disability service provider or other concerned person.
It's best to complain as soon after the event as you can. But it's still worth raising your concern, even if some time has passed.
If you complain for someone else: HDC may not be able to share certain details, unless you're named as allowed to receive that person's personal health information.
HDC will first decide if they need more information. This may be from:
- the health or disability provider
- you — they may ask a health and disability advocate to help
- a clinical advisor.
If you and the provider may be able to sort it out: HDC will ask you and the health or disability service to work through the issue, before stepping in. They may suggest a health and disability advocate supports you. Sorting it out is often as simple as an apology and commitment to do things differently next time.
If another organisation is more suited to dealing with your issue: HDC may ask another agency, eg Ministry of Health, Medical Council NZ, to look at your complaint.
If HDC takes your complaint further: Based on the details of your case, the Commissioner will say whether your care met the standards in the Code of Rights. These rights (on this page) you can expect when you use any health or disability service.
In all three cases, the Commissioner will write to you to tell you their decision.
Health and Disability Commissioner (HDC) might order the health care provider to:
- review their systems
- complete special training.
Organisations must report back to HDC to let them know what they have done in response.
If HDC questions an individual's competence, they may ask for it to be reviewed by the relevant body. For example, if they thought a midwife wasn't up to doing their job, they may ask the Midwifery Council of New Zealand to investigate.