Health and Disability Commissioner Act 1994

Lee M. made this Official Information request to Minister of Health

Response to this request is long overdue. By law Minister of Health should have responded by now (details and exceptions). You can complain to the Ombudsman.

From: Lee M.

Dear Minister of Health,

The Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights (the Code) was established by the Health and Disability Commissioner under the Health and Disability Commissioner Act 1994.

According to Section 3(h) of the Health and Disability Commissioner Act 1994, the interpretation of a "health care provider" includes "any health practitioner". Therefore "any (Medical Council of N.Z. practising and registered) health practitioner", irrespective of his or her role, must comply with the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights.

However, when it comes to ACC claimants that have been directed by the ACC to undergo medical reviews and/or assessments, neither the Health and Disability Commissioner nor the Medical Council of N.Z. are willing or prepared to investigate legitimate and valid complaints regarding competence and/or conduct of health practitioners who perform assessments and reviews at the behest of the ACC. This leaves ACC claimants with no recourse in terms of their legitimate and valid complaints.

According to sections 11 and 12 of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 medical assessments for third parties - such as the ACC - fall within
the definition of the practice of medicine and are a common feature of medical practice. It matters not whether the health practitioner is a treating or non-treating doctor. All are equally subject to the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights.

A publication issued by the Medical Council of N.Z. titled "Non-treating doctors performing
medical assessments of patients for third parties" describes the standards that all health practitioners must adhere to, but, this only applies to medical reviews and/or assessments where the ACC claimant undergoes a "face-to-face assessment". Consequently the large number of ACC claimants whose reviews and/or assessments are paper-based are 'left out in the cold' insofar as their right to having their legitimate and valid complaints about medical competence and/or conduct investigated. In this regard, the "Non-treating doctors performing medical assessments of patients for third parties" publication states that they "should direct such complaints directly to the third party, as the party is best placed to address these concerns".

Of course, the "third party" being ACC and the review and/or assessment having been appointed and funded by the ACC, leaves the claimant with little to no chance of having their legitimate and valid complaints considered by an organisation who is neither responsible nor qualified to hold health practitioners to account. In other words, the ACC does not have the necessary experience, qualification, authority or jurisdiction to investigate complaints it regularly receives from aggrieved claimants. It is patently obvious too that it would have no interest in investigating, and much less so in finding fault with, anything done by a medical practitioner it has appointed and funded to write a report that is very often subjective, biased and heavily weighted towards the ACC's position. Thus ACC claimants whose claims are subject to paper-based reviews and/or assessments are finding no-one willing or able to consider their legitimate and valid complaints.

In addition, even though the Health and Disability Commissioner has legal obligations and responsibilities under the Health and Disability Commissioner Act 1994 and its Code that would in most cases require investigations to be conducted into all complaints it receives, the publication titled "Non-treating doctors performing medical assessments of patients for third parties" states that "... the conduct of a non-treating doctor during a face-to-face assessment may fall within the Health and Disability Commissioner’s jurisdiction".

With Section 38(1) of the Health and Disability Commissioner Act 1994 providing that the Commissioner may, at any time after completing a preliminary assessment of a complaint, and at his or her discretion, decide to take no action or, as the case may require, no further action on the complaint, aggrieved ACC claimants who have undergone "face-to-face assessment" with non-treating health practitioners, and who have raised legitimate and valid complaints with the Health and Disability Commissioner, are routinely being told that the Commissioner does not have jurisdiction to investigate such matters.and their files are then closed often with a letter being sent to them conveying this message and with advice that this office will engage in no further correspondence in the matter.

Against the background provided above, I am requesting that you provide me with;

1. Information about which entity, body or organisation has the necessary authority and jurisdiction, and is responsible for investigating ACC claimant complaints about the contents of face-to-face review and/or assessment reports, and what statute or other legislation applies in this case. And, if there is no such entity, body or organisation, why not?

2. Information about which entity, body or organisation has the necessary authority and jurisdiction, and is responsible for investigating ACC claimant complaints about paper-based review and/or assessment reports, and what statute or other legislation applies in this case. And, if there is no such entity, body or organisation, why not?

3. Information about which entity, body or organisation has the necessary authority and jurisdiction, and is responsible for ACC claimant complaints about the conduct of non-treating health practitioners at face-to-face reviews and/or assessments.

Yours faithfully,

Lee M.

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From: Ashley Goodwin

 

Dear Lee M

 

On behalf of Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman, Minister of Health, thank you for
your email received 11 August 2016, requesting under the Official
Information Act 1982:

 

1.  Information about which entity, body or organisation has the necessary
authority and jurisdiction, and is responsible for investigating ACC
claimant complaints about the contents of face-to-face review and/or
assessment reports, and what statute or other legislation applies in this
case.  And, if there is no such entity, body or organisation, why not?

 

2.  Information about which entity, body or organisation has the necessary
authority and jurisdiction, and is responsible for investigating ACC
claimant complaints about paper-based review and/or assessment reports,
and what statute or other legislation applies in this case.  And, if there
is no such entity, body or organisation, why not?

 

3.  Information about which entity, body or organisation has the necessary
authority and jurisdiction, and is responsible for ACC claimant complaints
about the conduct of non-treating health practitioners at face-to-face
reviews and/or assessments.

 

The information requested appears to be more closely associated with the
functions and responsibilities of Health and Disability Commissioner.

 

Accordingly I am transferring your request to the Health and Disability
Commissioner, Anthony Hill, under section 14(b)(ii) of the Official
Information Act 1982

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Ashley Goodwin

Private Secretary - Health

Office of Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman

 

 

 

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From: Lee M.

Dear Ashley Goodwin,

Can you please provide me with a copy of your transfer letter to the Health and Disability Commissioner's office. Also, I am trusting that you and/or the Health and Disability Commissioner are cognisant of the fact that the 20 working day deadline falls on 20 September 2016 and that I need a response by then at the latest.

Yours sincerely,

Lee M.

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From: Ashley Goodwin

 

Dear Lee M

 

Thank you for your email

 

The email as detailed below, was forwarded on to the office of the Health
and Disability Commissioner, Anthony Hill.

 

This email was accepted as a formal transfer by the commissioner’s office.

 

You may wish to contact the HDC office for an update on the progress of
your request, as the information you have requested is more closely
associated with the functions and responsibilities of Health and
Disability Commissioner.

 

The office contact details are included in the link below.

 

http://www.hdc.org.nz/contact-us

 

 

 

Kind regards

 

Ashley Goodwin

Private Secretary - Health

Office of Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman

 

 

 

 

From: Ashley Goodwin
Sent: Tuesday, 23 August 2016 12:37 p.m.
To: '[FOI #4425 email]'
Subject: Official Information request - Health and Disability Commissioner
Act 1994

 

 

Dear Lee M

 

On behalf of Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman, Minister of Health, thank you for
your email received 11 August 2016, requesting under the Official
Information Act 1982:

 

1.  Information about which entity, body or organisation has the necessary
authority and jurisdiction, and is responsible for investigating ACC
claimant complaints about the contents of face-to-face review and/or
assessment reports, and what statute or other legislation applies in this
case.  And, if there is no such entity, body or organisation, why not?

 

2.  Information about which entity, body or organisation has the necessary
authority and jurisdiction, and is responsible for investigating ACC
claimant complaints about paper-based review and/or assessment reports,
and what statute or other legislation applies in this case.  And, if there
is no such entity, body or organisation, why not?

 

3.  Information about which entity, body or organisation has the necessary
authority and jurisdiction, and is responsible for ACC claimant complaints
about the conduct of non-treating health practitioners at face-to-face
reviews and/or assessments.

 

The information requested appears to be more closely associated with the
functions and responsibilities of Health and Disability Commissioner.

 

Accordingly I am transferring your request to the Health and Disability
Commissioner, Anthony Hill, under section 14(b)(ii) of the Official
Information Act 1982

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Ashley Goodwin

Private Secretary - Health

Office of Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman

 

 

 

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From: HDC


Attachment Response to information request 15Sep16.pdf
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Please find attached our response to your information request.

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From: Lee M.

Dear nameless person at the HDC who replied to my information request

Your responses are ludicrous. You have not provided me with any of the information I am seeking.
I am giving you a further 20 working days to properly respond to my information request. If you do not do so by 13 October 2016 I will have no option but to complain to the Ombudsman.

Incidentally, do you not know that it is discourteous to sign a business letter but not disclose your name?

Yours sincerely,

Lee M.

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Lee M. left an annotation ()

The usual "fudged" reply where they write a lot but say nothing, and don't respond to your particular information requests.

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From: HDC


Attachment Lee M request for information.pdf
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Dear Lee M

Please find attached a response to your email of 15 September 2016.

Yours sincerely

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Things to do with this request

Anyone:
Minister of Health only: