Consultation on Nursing Council’s Proposed Policy on Publication and Naming of Nurses Subject to an order or Direction

Proposed Policy on Publication and Naming of nurses subject to an order or direction

We invite your feedback

Response due date is 30 January 2020

You can find out more about the Council's consultation below before reading the "Proposed Policy on Publication and Naming of nurses subject to an order or direction" (click on the link above) and then please give us your feedback by doing the survey on the right.

Issuing a naming policy

Changes to the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 that came into effect in April 2019 means that the Council is required to develop, consult on and publish a naming policy for nurses following an order or direction under the Act by mid-April 2020. The Council has developed the attached draft policy and seeks your opinion on the proposed policy by 30 January 2020. The relevant sections of the Act are attached to the proposed policy as appendix 2.

Consultation


Under the Act the Council is required to consult and take into account any comments received from:
      nurses registered with the Council
      the Privacy Commissioner
      the Director-General of Health
      the Health and Disability Commissioner.

Publication order and naming policy

Under section 157 of the Act the Council may publish in any publication a notice setting out:
      the effect of any order or direction it has made
      a summary of any finding it has made
      the name of the nurse.

An order or a direction

An order is a decision made by the Council about a nurse that the Act describes as an order.  Under section 156A of the Act an order must:
      be in writing
      state the reasons why it was made
      state clearly the nurse’s right to appeal to the District Court against the order
      be signed by the Registrar of the authority.

Orders are made under different parts of the Act (registration, health, competence and conduct).
Although some provisions use the word “order”, or “direction” not all functions that are ordered are “orders” or “directions” under the Act. An example is section 67A(2) of the Act where the Council may “order” a nurse to undergo a specified medical examination. However, this can only proceed with the consent of the nurse, there has been no finding and it cannot be appealed to the District Court.
Orders are also described in section 157 as having an effect and a finding. The Council’s proposed policy is therefore confined to orders that may be the subject of an appeal under section 106 of the Act.
Some orders result in a nurses’ practising certificate or registration being suspended. Others result in conditions being included in a nurse’s scope of practice that are recorded on the public register. Other orders may not result in conditions being included such as requiring a nurse to undertake a competence programme.

The purpose of the naming policy

Although the purpose of the policy is to:
      enhance public confidence in the nursing profession and the Council’s disciplinary procedures by providing transparency about their decision-making processes
      ensure the nurses whose conduct has not met expected standards may be named when it is in the public interest to do so and
      improve the safety and quality of health care.
The publication of orders is not limited to those made under the disciplinary process and the proposed policy therefore includes orders made under the health, competence and general provisions.  

The content of the policy

The policy must set out

      The class or classes of nurses in respect of which the naming policy applies
      The circumstances in which a nurse may be named
      The general principles that will guide the Council’s naming decisions
      The criteria that the Council must apply when making a naming decision
      The requirement to have regard to the consequences for the nurse of being named, including the likely harm to the nurse’s reputation
      The procedures the Council must follow when making a naming decision
      The information the Council may disclose when naming a nurse
      The means by which the nurse is named.

    What general principles will guide the Council’s decisions to publish an order?

    Under section 157G a naming policy must be consistent with:
        the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003
        the information privacy principles in section 6 of the Privacy Act 1993; and
        the general law (including natural justice rights).

      Naming policy to be available on the Internet

      The naming policy must be available on the website.

      Naming policies in force

      The naming policy comes into force on the day after the date of issue.

      Review of policy

      The Council must review the policy within three years after the policy comes into force and then every three years after that.  The same consultation will apply.  
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