Human Rights Review Tribunal, HRRT031/2015 (22 July 2015)
The Director filed proceedings in the Human Rights Review Tribunal against Mr Will Buist for the care he provided a recovering alcoholic in 2012. The proceeding was resolved by negotiated agreement. The Tribunal issued a declaration that Mr Buist had breached Rights 4(1) by failing to provide services with reasonable care and skill and Right 4(2) by failing to provide services that complied with legal, professional and ethical standards.
Mr Buist was a counsellor and the programme director for Recovery198, an alcohol and addictions recovery programme with assisted living services. In July 2012 a recovering alcoholic (Mr A) was referred to the programme where he became resident for a period of four months. At the outset of his residence in the programme Mr A was informed that he would receive weekly one-one counselling from Mr Buist as well as an individually tailored programme to assist with his recovery. Mr A paid for the programme (including living arrangements) by redirecting his Work and Income New Zealand benefit to Recovery198. As a part of his weekly payment, Mr A paid Recovery198 $60 for one-one counselling with Mr Buist.
Mr A did not receive a formal treatment programme and he did not receive any more than three one-one counselling sessions with Mr Buist, despite having paid for 18 sessions. Mr Buist did not document the counselling sessions that did occur or make any formal clinical records of Mr A's recovery programme.
During his residence in the programme, Mr A was subcontracted out for work to third party contractors. Mr Buist facilitated the work and payment for the work. Mr A was paid $15 per hour to carry out the work, but Recovery198 charged the third party contractors $21 per hour, retaining the $6 hourly difference. Subcontracting Mr A out for work was contrary to Mr Buist's ethical requirements as a counsellor to avoid dual relationships and conflicts of interest.
The Tribunal's full decision can be found at:
Last reviewed February 2019