Patient Rights>

Code of Rights



The Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights sets out ten rights that you have as a health consumer which must be followed by anyone providing any sort of health or disability service. The Code applies to all health services and disability support services in New Zealand, whether you have paid for them or they are free of charge and include hospitals, doctors, nurses, homeopaths, diagnostic services, special needs assessors etc.

The purpose of the Code is to protect your rights as a health consumer and to help resolve any complaints you may have if you feel those rights have not been protected.

The main points of the ten rights are:

Right 1

You should always be treated with respect, including respect for your culture, values, beliefs and personal privacy.

Right 2

No-one should discriminate against you or push you into doing something or making a decision that you are not comfortable with.

Right 3

Your care and treatment let you live a dignified, independent life.

Right 4

Everyone looking after you should work together to make sure that you are treated with care and skill and that you receive the right services for your needs.

Right 5

You have the right to be listened to, understood and receive information in whatever way you need. Where possible, an interpreter should be provided if you need one.

Right 6

Your condition should be fully explained to you, to allow you to make choices for possible treatments. You should be given information on the benefits and side effects of treatments and told how long you may have to wait, who will be treating you and any costs involved. You can ask any questions about the services and expect an honest and accurate answer.

Right 7

It is your decision whether to go ahead with treatments or not and you are able to change your mind at any time.

Right 8

In most situations, you can have a support person of your choice with you if you wish.

Right 9

All these rights also apply when you are taking part in teaching or research.

Right 10

You can make a complaint about any aspect of your care or treatment. You should be given information on the process involved in making a complaint so it is easy for you to do so. Your treatment should not suffer if you do make a complaint.

If you have any concerns about the care you are receiving or you think that any of your rights have not been respected, you should discuss this with the person or organisation providing the services. If you are going to meet with the service provider(s) you are allowed to take a friend or relative with you. You are also able to ask for help from an independent Health and Disability Advocate. Advocates are trained to help people in your situation and will advise and support you free of charge. You can contact  your local advocacy service by ringing:

Free phone:  0800 11 22 33.

For more information on the Health and Disability Advocacy service, click here

If you are not happy with the provider’s response to your complaint, you can contact the office of the Health and Disability Commissioner. The Disability Commissioner will decide if there has been a breach of your rights as described in the Code.


Click here for contact details for the Nationwide Advocacy Service

The Health and Disability Commissioner’s Office:

Auckland Office
Level 10 Tower Centre
45 Queen Street
PO Box 1791
New Zealand
Ph: (09) 373 1060
Fax: (09) 373 1061

Wellington Office
Level 13 Vogel Building
Aitken Street
PO Box 12 299
New Zealand
Ph: (04) 494 7900
Fax: (04) 494 7901

Free phone: 0800 11 22 33


If you want to find out more about the Health and Disability Commissioner, click here: