We have a leading health law team with specialist lawyers who have spent many years working with, and in, the health sector. Our expertise in this sector is unmatched by any other major firm.
We are committed to supporting health sector organisations to manage the vast array of legal issues that they face. Our thorough understanding of our clients' legal obligations, the structure of the health sector, and the pressures and constraints facing our clients, means that our advice is relevant, practical, cost-effective, strategic and timely.
The health sector in New Zealand is currently undergoing significant reform, starting with the Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Act 2022 (the Act) that came into force on 1 July 2022. The Act has made significant changes to the health sector in New Zealand, with the establishment of Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand, and Te Aka Whai Ora - Māori Health Authority. Separately, Whaikaha/the Ministry of Disabled People had been established, incorporating the Disability Services functions of the Ministry of Health. We are fortunate to be working with Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand (and before that with both the Transition Unit within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and interim Health New Zealand) on a wide range of establishment matters and its ongoing work programme.
The Act also disestablished the 20 District Health Boards (DHBs), the Health Promotion Agency, and various DHB shared service agencies, which are now part of Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand. Many of these entities have been clients of Buddle Findlay for a number of years, and we continue to provide advice and support, and look forward to working with them on future challenges and opportunities as the health reforms bed in.
Our broad range of health sector clients includes:
- Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand, the Ministry of Health, the New Zealand Blood and Organ Service, the Health Quality and Safety Commission, Pharmac and Primary Health Organisations
- Private providers such as aged care providers, community care providers, and private hospitals
- Registration authorities such as the Medical Council and professional colleges such as the Royal College of General Practitioners
- Non-government organisations, including charities providing health services.
We regularly advise on matters relating to:
- The provision of health services including the management of patient complaints, adverse events, and investigations or inquiries, and issues relating to competence, consent, and refusal (including assisting with court applications for treatment or other personal orders)
- The regulation, management and governance of health services (including the Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Act and establishment of Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand and Te Aka Whai Ora - Māori Health Authority), funding contracts and procurement, and public law issues (including ensuring robust decision-making)
- Health information management, including the collection, use and disclosure of information, privacy complaints, and compliance obligations relevant to new technologies and systems.
Within our employment, property, commercial and competition teams, we have experts who work extensively with our health sector clients.
Advising Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand, and before that the Transition Unit in DPMC and interim Health New Zealand
on a wide range of matters relating to the health reforms and the establishment of Te Whatu Ora through the Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Act 2022
Representing Hawke's Bay District Health Board
before the Government Inquiry into Havelock North Drinking Water
Advising Adamantem Capital
on its acquisition of retirement village and aged care operator Heritage Lifecare
Appearing for a range of health sector and other clients in coronial inquiries
including the high-profile Carterton Balloon Inquest
Assisting a District Health Board
in responding to provisional breach findings issued by the Health and Disability Commissioner, and successfully advocating for a final finding of no breach
Advising District Health Boards and now Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand
on the commissioning and funding of primary care (GP) services, pharmacy services, aged-care services, and adolescent dental services, including by advising on and drafting the national contracts between Te Whatu Ora and providers of those services