The College provides support and assistance for medico-legal issues for general practitioners and their practices. “Medico-legal” covers a range of issues where the law intersects with medical practice and decision making. Our medico-legal focus is on learning.
The Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ) regulates the medical profession under the Health Practitioners’ Competence Assurance Act (2003). The MCNZ publication Cole’s Medical Practice in New Zealand provides an introduction to the main legislation, ethical standards and guidelines which govern medical practice including general practice in New Zealand.
New Zealand has a complex and somewhat unique health regulatory structure, including the Health and Disability Commissioner, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, the Accident Compensation Corporation, the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal, the Office of the Chief Coroner and the NZ Coronial Services, even your District Health Board, to name but a few.
Medico-legal topics range from the matters dealt with in the relevant health Codes such as Health and Disability Consumers’ Rights (establishing the rights of consumers, and the obligations and duties of providers to comply with the Code, such as rights to effective communication and services of an appropriate standard), the Health Information Privacy Code (addressing how health information is to be collected, used, held and disclosed by health agencies), to the medical ethical issues outlined in the NZMA Code of Ethics.
The College identifies, develops and maintains networks and relationships that provide the opportunity to become aware of (and understand) key medico-legal issues affecting the College and its members. We encourage members to raise medico-legal issues with us.
There are a number of professional bodies, other than the College, that provide medico-legal support to GPs, including the Medical Protection Society, Medical Assurance Society, and the New Zealand Medical Association.