We have a leading health law team in New Zealand
Our extensive experience advising on a wide range of issues in the health sector makes us a leading choice for anyone requiring legal advice in this area. Our public law, employment, property, commercial, and competition experts work extensively with our health sector clients.
We understand New Zealand’s health sector landscape
We are committed to supporting health sector organisations as they manage the vast array of legal issues they face. Our thorough understanding of our clients’ legal obligations, their pressures and constraints, and the structure of the sector means that our advice is relevant, practical, cost-effective, strategic and timely.
We have been extensively involved in the implementation of the Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Act 2022, which launched major reforms to New Zealand's health sector. The Act:
- Established Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand, and Te Aka Whai Ora - Māori Health Authority
- Disestablished the 20 DHBs, Te Hiringa Hauora - Health Promotion Agency, and various DHB shared service agencies, all of which are now part of Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand.
This is only the start. In time, the health reforms will change how health services are designed, provided and funded. They will also change how organisations work together to improve health outcomes. We will continue to support our clients as these changes roll out.
Learn about the health reforms here:
We work with organisations across the sector
Our broad range of health sector clients include:
- Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand, both at a national and district level. Many of the entities that are now part of Te Whatu Ora (such as DHBs and the Health Promotion Agency) have been our clients for many years
- Other statutory and professional entities including Manatū Hauora Ministry of Health, Whaikaha, Crown entities (such as the Health and Disability Commissioner, Accident Compensation Corporation, New Zealand Blood and Organ Service and Health Quality and Safety Commission), Te Aka Whai Ora, Registration Authorities (such as the Dental Council of New Zealand) and professional colleges and associations (such as the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers)
- Private secondary care providers, including private hospitals, radiology providers and hospices
- Primary care providers, including traditional and telehealth/online general practices and pharmacies, and Primary Health Organisations
- Community care providers including both health and disability community support providers, kaupapa Māori providers, in-home care organisations, and aged care providers
- Industry product suppliers to the health sector, including global pharmaceutical manufacturers, biotechnology providers, medical device suppliers, venture backed start-ups, and research institutions
- Non-governmental organisations, including charities providing health services.
We have broad experience
We regularly give advice on:
- Managing patient complaints (including Health and Disability Commissioner complaints), adverse events, and investigations or inquiries (such as Coronial inquiries), and issues relating to competence, consent, and refusal (including assisting with court applications for treatment or other personal orders)
- Regulating, managing, and governing health services and public law issues (including advising on specific legislation such as the Therapeutic Products Act 2023, Medicines Act 1981, Human Tissue Act 2008, and End of Life Choice Act 2019)
- Commissioning health services from design to procurement and funding at district and national levels
- Collecting and managing health information and responding to privacy complaints
- Adopting digital systems, solutions, and platforms, and meeting compliance obligations for new technologies and systems
- Meeting obligations under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003, and the management of health practitioners more broadly.
Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand
We advise 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.
Health and Disability Commissioner inquiries
We assist public and private providers in responding to Health and Disability Commissioner inquiries including assisting providers with responding to provisional breach findings issued by the Health and Disability Commissioner, and, where appropriate, successfully advocating for final findings of no breach.
District Health Boards and now Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand
We advised District Health Boards and now advise Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand on the commissioning and funding of primary care (GP) services, community 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.
New Zealand Blood and Organ Service
We advised the New Zealand Blood and Organ Service (NZBOS) on managing requests for directed donation of blood, and acted for the New Zealand Blood and Organ Service in the Baby W case, where the parents of Baby W sought a Court order requiring NZBS to provide ‘unvaccinated’ donor blood for Baby W’s heart surgery.
We also assisted NZBOS to negotiate a national supply agreement for blood products and services.
We advise private and public health providers on their credentialing processes and the management of clinical competence concerns, including interim measures necessary for patient safety such as suspension and imposition of restrictions.
Developing and implementing legislation
We assist with the development and implementation of legislation. We assisted the Ministry of Health on the development and implementation of new and proposed legislation, such as the Therapeutic Products Act 2023, the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Act 2023, and the End of Life Choice Act 2019, and assist public and private sector clients with submissions and implementation requirements.