Responding to Media Enquiries
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a media query. The communications team monitors this inbox Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm. For after-hours queries, please call 027 432 6709.
While we do our best to meet your deadlines, it may take around two working days for final responses.
Commenting on complaints
While we recognise that there can be high levels of public interest, we are unable to comment on open complaints. This is to ensure the protection of natural justice, the privacy of all parties involved in the complaint, and a fair and impartial process.
We can confirm whether we have received a complaint if the complainant’s correct name is provided and the complainant has agreed.
Generally we are unable to comment on the stage a complaint may be at because of the many variables affecting the assessment process.
We are unable to provide additional comment on the specifics of closed complaints.
If we do not find a breach of the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights (the Code), we cannot comment on the complaint, because the information is privileged — between HDC and those involved in the complaint. However, a complainant is entitled to talk about their complaint.
We are able to talk in general terms about matters raised in decisions.
Final decisions are published on Mondays at 2pm - HDC’s Latest Decisions. Media releases relating to decisions are attached to individual decisions.
Naming policy — overview
Our naming policy applies only to naming by the Health and Disability Commissioner. The Commissioner has no legal power to order name suppression. That means it is possible for participants in an investigation to publicise names.
The decision to name comes after the Commissioner has formed an opinion on whether there has been a breach of the Code.
Around 4–5 percent of complaints are investigated formally and, of these, about 70–75 percent result in a breach finding. The naming policy applies to findings in breach of the Code.
If the Director of Proceedings or the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal is involved, we will not name a provider until any processes (including appeals) have been completed.
When applying the naming policy, key considerations are:
- Does public interest in naming outweigh potential harm to the provider?; and
- What are the considerations of participants in the complaint — and will the participants be identified?
In general, the Commissioner will name the following if they are found in breach of the Code, unless it is not in the public interest or it unfairly compromises the privacy of individual providers or consumers:
- Te Whatu Ora — Health New Zealand and relevant districts, and public hospitals;
- Rest homes, residential facilities, and private hospitals; and
- Medical centres, pharmacies, and other provider organisations.
Individual providers have the strongest privacy interest in protecting their professional reputation and livelihood. These interests must be weighed carefully against relevant public interest considerations. If one or more of the following factors are present, the naming of a provider is likely:
- Public safety concerns;
- Non-compliance with HDC recommendations; and
- Frequent breaches of the Code.