Patient rights & responsibilities

As a health and disability provider, the Whanganui District Health Board complies with the Code of Health and Disability Consumers’ Rights and the Health Information Privacy Code.



Patient rights



The Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights became law on 1 July 1996. The Code gives a number of rights to consumers using health and disability services in New Zealand and places corresponding obligations on providers of those services.

Summary of the Code of Health and Disability Consumers’ Rights are as follows:

  • Right to be treated with respect
  • Right to freedom from discrimination, coercion, harassment and exploitation
  • Right to dignity and independence
  • Right to services of an appropriate standard
  • Right to effective communication
  • Right to be fully informed
  • Right to make an informed choice and give informed consent
  • Right to support
  • Rights in respect of teaching or research
  • Right to complain.

Click here for more information regarding the Code of Health & Disability Consumers' Rights.

Patient responsibilities

While under Whanganui District Health Board care patients are expected to:

  • Provide accurate information in regard to medications, treatments and medical history
  • Ask for clarification or further explanation on anything causing concern or uncertainty
  • Cooperate with any treatments agreed to
  • Respect the privacy, dignity, cultural, social and ethnic practices of other patients
  • Show consideration to other patients’ requirements for peace and quiet
  • Behave in a way that does not make staff or other patients feel threatened
  • Not use offensive language to staff or other patients.


The Health Information Privacy Code

The Health Information Privacy Code sets out specific rules for health service providers to ensure the protection of individual privacy and patients’ health information. The code addresses how health information can be collected, used, held and disclosed.

Summary of the Health Information Privacy Code rules are as follows:

  • Only necessary information can be collected
  • Personal information must be collected directly from the individual whenever possible
  • The individual must be aware information is being collected, the purpose and intended recipients
  • The method of collection must not be unlawful, unfair or intrusive
  • Collected information is to be protected against loss, misuse or disclosure
  • The individual has the right to access their personal information
  • The individual has the right to request correction of their personal information
  • Information is not to be used unless reasonable steps have been taken to ensure it is accurate, complete, relevant, up to date and not misleading
  • Information is not to be kept for longer than necessary
  • Information is not to be used for purposes other than that for which it was collected
  • Information is not to be disclosed to other parties
  • No two parties can share the same unique identifier for the same individual such as IRD number, bank customer number, drivers licence or passport number.

Click here for information about requesting a copy of your health information.

Using your rights


If you believe your rights have been breached under either the Code of Health and Disability Consumers’ Rights or the Health Information Privacy Code please advise us.

Click here for information on how to make a complaint.



More information regarding your rights and responsibilities can be found at the websites of the Ministry of Health and the Health & Disability Commission.