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Dental Council’s proposed code of practice on advertising
Download Dental Council’s proposed code of practice on advertising (PDF 170Kb)
Dental Council of New Zealand
PO Box 10-448
Dear Ms Warner
Thank you for your letter of 13 April 2011, enclosing the New
Zealand Dental Council's (the Council) proposed code of practice on
advertising (Code of practice).
I have discussed the proposed code of practice with the
Commissioner, and provide his comments as follows. The Commissioner
commends the Council on its work to address this area which has
clear implications for the rights of health and disability
consumers, as identified by recent complaints to this Office.
The Commissioner's comments are set out under the headings
suggested in the consultation document.
Do you agree/disagree with the proposal to issue a Code
of Practice on Advertising?
The Commissioner agrees with the proposal to issue a code of
practice on advertising, and supports the Council's work in this
Do you agree with the wording of the proposed Code of
Practice on Advertising?
The Commissioner suggests that you include reference to the Code
of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights (the Code) in
paragraph 1.5, where the code of practice lists other legislation
and standards relating to advertising. The rights to be fully
informed (Right 6) and give informed consent (Right 7), and the
right to be free from discrimination, coercion, harassment and
exploitation (Right 2), are particularly relevant to the
advertising of services. When finalized, the code of practice may
be used by the Commissioner as a standard by which an oral health
practitioner's conduct is measured.
Subsection 3.6 states that practitioners must not delegate
accountability for ensuring the accuracy of advertising and
compliance with the code of practice, and the Dental Council will
apply the doctrine of vicarious liability. "Vicarious liability" is
a legal term the meaning of which may not be well known to all oral
health practitioners. You should consider alternative wording that
more simply clarifies the meaning and intent of this
Any additional comments regarding the proposed Code of
Practice on Advertising
The Commissioner suggests you consider whether Council has a
position on the use of images in advertising, in particular, the
use of "before and after" photos. Using pictures in advertising has
a significant potential to mislead and unnecessarily raise
expectations of a successful outcome with consumers. I draw your
attention to the statement used by the Medical Council of New
Zealand in paragraph 14 of their comparative Statement on
I trust that these comments are useful to the Council in making
a final decision on the proposal for a code of practice. We look
forward to receiving a final copy.
Chief Legal Advisor
 For example, case 09HDC02164.
 The Medical Council of New Zealand
Statement on Advertising (August 2010) available on the Medical
Council's website at: http://www.mcnz.org.nz/Resources/Standardsandguidelines/tabid/293/Default.aspx.