Patient Rights & Privacy

Patient Rights

You as the patient have rights as outlined in the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights

Complaint Procedure  – If you’re not satisfied we need to know

We treat complaints seriously and respond promptly and fairly.

Every complaint is an opportunity to look carefully at how we do things and to see if we can improve the way we provide health care.  We aim to achieve a mutually satisfactory conclusion and, where appropriate, take action to ensure the situation does not arise again.  It is helpful if complaints are received as soon as possible after the event.

 Will my treatment be affected?

No.  The complaint process is confidential.  We do require details so that we may investigate a matter fully.

 How do I complain?

If you are unhappy about how you were treated, you may take your concerns directly to the person who provided the service to you.  If you are still not satisfied or you do not feel able to talk to them, you may talk to or write a letter to the person responsible for overseeing satisfactory resolution of complaints (the Complaints Officer) in this practice. Our Complaints Office is:  Ali Barbara (Practice Manager).

 What happens then?

The Complaints Officer will thoroughly assess the complaint, decide what actions need to be taken and communicate with you on how best to resolve the issue.

 Where else can I complain to?

Everyone using a health or disability service has the protection of the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights and the Health Information Privacy Code.  A copy of the Code of Rights is available for you on request.

Where the code is breached after 1st July 1996 complain to:  The Health and Disability Commissioner
                                                                                                        PO Box 1791, Auckland 1140
                                                                                                        Phone 0800 112 233

Where privacy is breached complain to:  The Privacy Commissioner
                                                                     PO Box 466, Auckland 1140
                                                                     Phone 0800 803 909


If you want support to complain, there is a free advocacy service to help you.  Phone the Office of the Health and Disability Commissioner. (Advocacy – Health and Disability 0800 11 22 33)

Chaperone – Support Person

Everyone is entitled to support under Right 8 of the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumer’s Rights 1996. If you want someone to stay with you during your appointment just let reception know when you arrive for that appointment.

The person can be a family member, friend or a member of staff at Dunedin North Medical Centre.

Access to  health information

You have the right to access (and have corrected) your health information under Rules 6 and 7 of the Health Information Privacy Code 1994.

Visiting another GP

If you visit another GP who is not your regular doctor, you will be asked for permission to share information from the visit with your regular doctor or practice.

If you have a High User Health Card or Community Services Card and  visit another GP who is not your regular doctor, he/she can make a claim for a subsidy, and the practice you are enrolled in will be informed of the date of that visit. The name of the practice you visited and the reason(s) for the visit will not be disclosed unless you give your consent.

Patient enrolment information

The information you provide on the your enrolment form will be:

  • held by Dunedin North Medical Centre
  • used by the Ministry of Health to allocate your National Health Index (NHI) number, or update any changes
  • sent to the Southern PHO and Ministry of Health to obtain subsidised funding on your behalf
  • used to determine eligibility to receive publicly-funded services. Information may be compared with other government agencies but only when permitted under the Privacy Act.

Health information

Dunedin North Medical Centre clinical staff may:

  • add to your health record during any services provided to you and use that information to provide appropriate care
  • share relevant health information with other health professionals who are directly involved in your care


In the case of financial audits, your health information may be reviewed by an auditor for checking a financial claim made by the practice, but only according to the terms and conditions of section 22G of the Health Act (or any subsequent applicable Act). You may be contacted by the auditor to check that services have been received. If the audit involves checking on health matters, an appropriately qualified health care practitioner will view the health records.

Health programmes

Health data relevant to a programme in which you are enrolled (e.g. Breast Screening, Immunisation, Diabetes) may be sent to the PHO or the external health agency managing this programme.

Other uses of health information

Health information which will not include your name but may include your National Health Index Identifier (NHI) may be used by health agencies such as the District Health Board, Ministry of Health or PHO for the following purposes, as long as it is not used or published in a way that can identify you:

  • health service planning and reporting
  • monitoring service quality
  • payment


Your health information may be used for health research, but only if this has been approved by an ethics committee and will not be used or published in a way that can identify you.

Except as listed above, it is understood that details about your health status or the services  you have received will remain confidential within Dunedin North Medical Centre unless you give specific consent for this information to be communicated.