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Manner in which services provided at a public hospital (96HDC1760)

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(96HDC1760, 3 December 1997)

Informed about rights under the Code ~ Right to be treated with respect ~ Right to services of an appropriate standard ~ Services provided in a manner consistent with patient's needs ~ Rights in respect of teaching or research ~ Crown Health Enterprise ~ Public hospital ~ Nurse ~ Trainee ~ Pain relief ~ Privacy ~ Clause 1(3)(a) ~ Right 4(3) ~ Right 9

A complaint was made by a man about the services provided to him by a Crown Health Enterprise (CHE). The complaint was on the basis that (1) he was not informed of his rights under the Code; (2) his pain relief medication was withheld on occasion; (3) his X-rays were shown to trainee nurses without his consent; and (4) he was nursed by a trainee nurse without being informed of her trainee status.

The Commissioner held that the CHE:

(1) breached Right 1(3)(a) because it did not provide the patient with information about his rights under the Code;

(2) did not breach Right 4(3) because the patient's request for pain relief medication was additional to the charted and administered pain relief medication. Medical advice was sought on the matter of additional medication, and this constituted a reasonable action by the provider under these circumstances; and

(3) did not breach Right 9 because the trainee nurse introduced herself to the patient, told him her name, told him that she was a second-year trainee nurse, and asked whether it was acceptable for her to assist in his care.

The Commissioner stated that the part of the complaint that considered the patient's X-rays was not a matter that is covered by the Code. While it is good practice to seek consent to view a patient's X-ray films, it is not a breach of the Code to fail to seek consent, because information privacy is not covered by the Code.

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