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Rights of Children and Young People in Healthcare Charter

Media release 12.5.11

NZ Launches the Rights of Children and Young People in Healthcare Charter

Embargoed until 5.30pm, Thursday May 12th.

A ground-breaking new charter which sets out the rights children and their families have when receiving health care in New Zealand is being launched today by the Children’s Commissioner.

The charter has been two years in the making and provides, for the first time, official recognition that children and young people have a right to have a say in the care they receive.

“Children and young people have a right to have their voices heard when it comes to their healthcare. What this charter does is formally enshrine a set of rights which should ensure that we get positive outcomes for the section of our society which is most vulnerable,’’ said Dr Rosemary Marks, President of the Paediatric Society of New Zealand and a Developmental Paediatrician at Starship Children’s Hospital.

The Charter is based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which New Zealand ratified in 1993, and includes 11 rights which, when taken together, aims to ensure that children and young people receive healthcare that is appropriate and acceptable to them and to their families and that they are given the right to exercise choices in health services as much as possible.

The charter was developed by Children’s Hospitals Australasia with input from the Paediatric Society of New Zealand and extensive consultation with health care workers, consumers, the Commissioner for Children, and the Office of the Health and Disability Commissioner and will apply across the health sector.
“Three general principles underpin the charter. The first is the primary consideration of the child’s or young person’s best interests. The second is hearing and taking seriously all children and young people. The third is the recognition that the family is the fundamental group in children’s and young people’s lives,’’ says Dr Paul Watson member of the Children’s Hospital Australasia Expert Reference Group and Nurse Educator at Canterbury DHB Child Health Service.

Families who have reviewed the charter were delighted their rights were now formally protected.

“The charter marks a significant milestone, not only in our approach to clinical care and health services for children and young people, but more specifically in our approach to the importance of the family in any health care setting,’’ said Anne Morgan Children’s Hospital Australasia Board Member and Service Manager Canterbury DHB Child Health Service.

There are three versions of the charter one for the health sector workers and adults, one for young people and one for children. The children’s version states;

1. Know that children are special and always do what is best for us.
2. Listen to us when we tell you how we are thinking and feeling, when we are upset, when we have problems or worries or when we need to talk to you. We may not be able to use words, so take notice of what we do and how we look because this can tell you what we are thinking and feeling.
3. Give us the very best possible care and the comfort we need.
4. Let us and our families/whanau be who we want to be, whatever our beliefs and customs, so that we feel safe at all times.
5. Let our families/whanau and others who are important to us be with us, to care for us and love and aroha us.
6. No matter how big or small we are, tell us what we need to know in a way we can understand.
7. Let us have a say in things that are happening to us now and in the future. Respect our decisions and let us make decisions for ourselves.
8. No one has the right to harm us, not doctors or nurses and not even our mums or dads. Protect us always from anyone who would harm us or treat us badly.
9. Our bodies belong to us. Ask us if you want to share information about us and make sure we stay safe. Give us space and privacy, as well as the chance to be with others.
10. Help us grow up to be the best we can. Let us learn, let us play and discover some things for ourselves.
11. When you care for us make sure that everyone is working together to do what is best for us until we are grown up and can decide things for ourselves.


© Scoop Media

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