"Our Code of Ethics means that anything you disclose to your doctor will remain confidential and will only be shared with other health professionals with your permission. Dr Mark Peterson, Taradale Medical GP.

Rights

Every patient is protected by the Code of Rights under the Health & Disability Commissioner Act 1994, which ensures you are treated with respect, care and skill and that you get to make your own decisions about your care.

Read your full rights

Privacy

Under the Privacy Act, GPs must respect your privacy by protecting your personal and medical information. 

Everything you need to know can be found in this colourful privacy rights brochure. 


The law

You can use advance directives and enduring powers of attorney to ensure treatment methods are met even after you can no longer communicate those wishes to your doctor.

You have the right to read your medical notes and have information correct in request.

Expectations

How do I choose a GP? Are there boundaries between me and my doctor? How do I express informed consent? The Medical Council of New Zealand explains all in this easy to read guide You and your doctor.

What you can expect from your GP

  1. Good medical care
  2. Respect for your privacy
  3. Services (for example screening, mental health care, diagnosis, vaccinations, assessments for work and income benefits) 
  4. Test results
  5. Clear communication

What your GP expects from you 

  1. Your medical history
  2. Your symptoms and medication
  3. Clear (honest!) communication 

"Doctors with a bit of experience are not going to be shocked or embarrassed by a patient's admissions about their lifestyle -- we have come across most things before. It is much better to be upfront to begin with because the truth usually comes out in the end," Dr Peterson said.

Seeing different doctors

Having the same GP over a long period of time can begin to feel like seeing a friend. It builds trust and the doctor will know you and what your ‘normal’ is. However, if you are worried about a diagnosis or lack of, you are well within your rights to ask another GP for a second opinion, or even change practices completely.

Trainees

The education of future GPs relies heavily on real life scenarios, for this reason it is likely you will encounter a ‘trainee’ at some point. The term ‘trainee’ is sometimes used for medical students, house officers and registrars who are completing their medical training. They are under the close supervision of a GP and  you will always be informed and asked for your consent. Our glossary explains all the medical roles you might meet when you visit your doctor. 

Home visits

While it’s becoming less common, home visits are possible and necessary where patients are restricted from physically getting to a practice. 

After-hours care 

GP practices usually open for regular business hours but will let you know where to go when they’re not open. Accident and medical centres are usually open late although can be more expensive and might refer you back to your GP. 

Translators

If English is not your first language, you might like to let the practice know before you visit so they can find a translator for you. Some patients have another family member or friend call the doctor so they can request a translator for you. You can also bring your own translator with you to a doctor’s visit. In some cases doctors have Language Line, a telephone-based translation system. 

Find out which medical centres use Language Line

Chaperones / support people 

The Code of Rights says you may bring a support person or friend to a GP appointment.

ACC referrals

If your health provider is registered with ACC, and your injury or accident meets ACC criteria, you can apply to have the costs of the treatment and your visits to the doctor partially paid for. 

PLAN for your next visit

Seeing your GP is a prime opportunity to talk to a professional about any health problems, use this flyer to PLAN for a more successful trip.