Legal Framework for Nursing Practice in New Zealand
Nurses in New Zealand practise within a unique legal framework. The basis of this is no-fault, state-funded cover for patients who suffer treatment injury. Such patients are entitled to any necessary treatment, rehabilitation, or compensation for their injury. This avoids the delay that is inherent in jurisdictions where a successful medical negligence claim must precede any award of compensation for damages.
Over a period of the last 37 years, the development of the current legal framework has changed the medico-legal landscape for nurses and patients in New Zealand. State-funded cover for treatment injury has paved the way for complementary legislation which has further advanced issues of patient rights and nursing regulation. Investigations into patient rights breaches and any recommended resolutions are now published, and nursing practice is regulated through a multifaceted approach to ensure accountability.
New Zealand completed the shift to no-fault cover for treatment injury in 2005. Since then, the legal framework for nurses has focused more fully on patient safety through the analysis and prevention of treatment injury, an increasing policy of open disclosure and public reporting of serious or sentinel treatment events.
The legal framework provides for a degree of communication and synergy between three areas of legislation. This is due to a capacity within the legal framework to cross-refer or communicate in relation to the areas of treatment injury, patient care, and nursing practice.
While this chapter focuses on the legal framework for nurses in New Zealand, all that is discussed applies equally to doctors and 19 other registered health professional groups, all of whom are governed by the same legal framework in all respects.
KeywordsMedical Error Nursing Practice Treatment Injury Personal Injury Compensatory Damage
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Further magazine reading recommended, by the NZNO librarian, Heather Woods, compiled with thanks
- Journal of Primary Health Care. Wellington, N.Z.: The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners, - Coverage: The journal of primary health care (JPHC) is the official journal of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (RNZCGP). It is a peer-reviewed multi-disciplinary journal aimed at providing general practitioners and other primary health care practitioners with up-to-date knowledge about the latest evidence and best practice. All issues available in full-text. http://www.rnzcgp.org.nz/journal-of-primary-health-care/
- New Zealand Doctor. Auckland [N.Z.]: UBM Medica (NZ) Ltd. Report on the issues affecting GPs in every aspect of their professional capacity: health politics, clinical developments and business management. http://www.nzdoctor.co.nz/
- Nursing Praxis New Zealand. Palmerston North, N.Z.: J. Perry, 1985- Coverage: Nursing Praxis in New Zealand publishes material which reflects upon and is relevant to any aspect of nursing practice in New Zealand, and which has a nurse or midwife as the sole or principal author. We have a particular interest in research-based practice oriented articles. http://www.nursingpraxisnz.org.nz/np_home.htm
- Nursing Review. Wellington, N.Z.: APN Educational Media (NZ) Ltd. http://www.nursingreview.co.nz/
- Safeguard. Thomson Reuters. Covers all aspects of workplace health and safety in New Zealand. The magazine contains feature stories exploring emerging issues in health and safety, as well as profiles of organisations with progressive policies and of health and safety practitioners. Safeguard features regular commentary from people working in health & safety, as well as reviews of books, videos and software. The magazine lists details of all successful prosecutions undertaken under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992. www.safeguard.co.nz