Charter - Introduction

The Charter of Health Rights and Responsibilities has been developed following consultation with health service users, referred to as consumers in this Charter, and health service providers.

When viewed as a partnership, the relationship between the health service consumer and the health service provider is more likely to benefit the health outcomes of the service consumer. While the health service provider has a responsibility to meet certain rights of the health service consumer, the consumer in turn, should also assume some responsibility for their own health care.

This Charter is intended to be used as a guideline to maintain the balance of rights and responsibilities, and strengthen the relationship between, health service users and health service providers.

Who is covered by the Charter?

The Charter is in place for any person who gives or receives a health service including those who are under age or whose capacity to be self determining is limited. Under the Health Complaints Act 1995, someone who is not yet 14 years of age is considered to be under age.

The parent or guardian of a child who has not attained the age of 14 years, claims the rights and responsibilities listed in this Charter on behalf of that child. Similarly, if the carer of a person with limited capacity has guardianship in the area of health care, they too can claim the rights and responsibilities listed in this Charter on behalf of that person.

Do the rights described in the Charter always apply?

Sometimes health service providers may not be able to meet all of the rights of the health service consumer. Similarly, consumers may not always be in a position to meet all of the rights of the provider. However, both providers and consumers should always do what they reasonably can under the circumstances.

What services are covered by the Charter?

The Health Complaints Act 1995 sets out the requirement for a Charter of Health Rights. Under Schedule 1, Part 1 the Act also describes services that are recognised as health services for the purpose of the Act. These services are covered by the Charter.

  1. A service provided at a hospital, health institution or nursing home.
  2. A medical, dental, pharmaceutical, mental health, community health, environmental health or specialised health service or a service related to such a service.
  3. A service provided in association with the use of premises for the care, treatment or accommodation of persons who are aged or have a physical disability or mental dysfunction.
  4. A laboratory service provided in support of a health service.
  5. A laundry, dry cleaning, catering or other support service provided to a hospital, health institution, nursing home or premises referred to in item 3, if the service affects the care or treatment of a patient or resident.
  6. A social work, welfare, recreational or leisure service, if provided as part of a health service.
  7. An ambulance service.
  8. Any other service provided by a provider, for or purportedly for, the care or treatment of another person.
  9. A service provided by any of the following:
    • audiologist
    • audiometrist
    • optical dispenser
    • dietitian
    • prosthetist
    • physiotherapist
    • dental prosthetist
    • psychotherapist
    • radiographer
    • podiatrist
    • therapeutic counsellor; or
    • any other service of a professional or technical nature provided for, or purportedly for, the care or treatment of another person or in support of a health service.
  10. A service provided by a practitioner of massage, naturopathy or acupuncture or in another natural or alternative health care or diagnostic field.
  11. The provision of information relating to the promotion or provision of health care or to health education.
  12. Any other service provided by a person registered by a registration board.

Where to next?

Rights 1 to 6 of the Charter

Updated: 24th May 2021