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Are you a healthcare provider?

Written by Ruth NIcholson – NZ Laser Training Ltd on August 30th, 2018.      0 comments

Whether you realise this or not, you are in fact recognised and therefore held accountable as a healthcare provider under section 3(k) the Health & Disability Commissioner (HDC). If a member of the public presents for treatment at your clinic (be it home-based, franchised, internationally owned, or a privately-owned professional setting) the treatments they undertake are health care services. This might include: Laser / IPL, electrolysis, waxing, eyelash tinting, body massage, facial and other popular treatments.

If a complaint is received by the beauty clinic from a member of the public – the process should always involvement what legal rights that person has access to. These rights include: The fair trading act, The Consumer guarantees act, the right to seek medical opinion (go and see their GP), and the right to make a complaint to the HDC which acts on behalf of the government to investigate breaches of the code of rights. It would be useful to also lodge a complaint to the NZ Association of registered beauty professionals.

What role does HDC play in the healthcare sector?
The HDC help to enforce to act and deal with complaints that are in breach of the Health and Disability Commissioner Act 1994. The purpose of the Act is “to promote and protect that rights of health consumers and disability services consumers, and, to that end, to facilitate the fair, simple, speedy, and efficient resolution of complaints relating to infringements of those rights”.

The HDC act as advocates to complainants, and as mediators and investigators on behalf of the ministry of health. Their job is to look into what happened, who was affected and were there any breaches of the act. The goal is to educate and find a resolution.

Both clinic owners and the individual operators conducting the treatments should be made aware of their responsibilities under the code of rights. It would be fair to say most people in our industry are unaware of this fact. Beauty Tech Conference hosted a key speaker from the HDC in the past with the audience being educated in what role they play in dealing with complaints. The speaker (Katie Elkin) then informed of relevant cases that have been investigated including burns caused by an IPL operator not conducting test patches, and not informing the client of expected and potential side effects. Very little formal complaints go to HDC from our industry because people (both consumers and professionals) are unaware of this process.

If you are unaware of your role in the health care system in NZ and how your clients could access this formal process, or work to support you in cases where a client has laid a complaint against you, please check out the website: www.hdc.org.nz/your-rights/about-the-code/

As technologies such as HIFU (high intensity focused ultrasound), Plasma, Lasers and other skin related technologies become more widely used in the beauty industry, we should all be more aware of the potential risks they pose to our clients, and possess knowledge on how to manage and process complaints under the legal framework in the New Zealand healthcare sector.

Members of the public also possess rights under consumer law which covers them for: lack of result from treatments purchased, and misrepresented services and products. Consumers can seek replacements or refunds to when products are faulty or do not match up to expectations or advertised features and benefits. For more info: www.consumerprotection.govt.nz & www.consumerprotection.govt.nz/general-help/laws-policies/fair-trading-act
Topics: Laser and IPL
 

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