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Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick
Status of Legislation - First Reading Bill
*** Health Charter of Rights and Responsibilities Act
 
Legislature :
54
Session :
5
Bill No. :
60
Member :
Hon. Elvy Robichaud
First Reading :
2003-4-8
Second Reading :
2003-4-9
Committee of the Whole :
Amended :
Third Reading :
Royal Assent :
Download PDF :
  Bill 60         
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Text of Bill :
Chapter Outline



Definition........................................................................................................................................... 1

primary health care services — services de soins de santé primaires

Scope.................................................................................................................................................. 2

Rights and responsibilities................................................................................................................ 3

Details of rights and responsibilities............................................................................................... 4

Interpretation...................................................................................................................................... 5

Corrective measures.......................................................................................................................... 6

Health and Wellness Advocate......................................................................................................... 7

Health and Wellness Advocate's duties........................................................................................... 8

Application to the Court of Queen's Bench..................................................................................... 9

Regulation-making authority.......................................................................................................... 10

Commencement............................................................................................................................... 11





WHEREAS publicly-funded health care is an important Canadian value shared by New Brunswickers;



AND WHEREAS the principles of public administration, comprehensiveness, universality, portability, and accessibility referred to in the Canada Health Act (Canada) are also principles of the New Brunswick health care system;



AND WHEREAS an effective, efficient, and accountable health care system is of importance to New Brunswickers;



AND WHEREAS the quality, availability and sustainability of the health care services that the system provides is of equal importance to New Brunswickers;



AND WHEREAS New Brunswickers have rights and responsibilities with respect to those services, including a responsibility to take an active role in maintaining their personal health and wellness;



AND WHEREAS language rights relative to the provision of health care services are established by the Official Languages Act;



NOW, THEREFORE, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick, enacts as follows:



Definition

1                           In this Act



"primary health care services" means basic health care services that are accessed directly by individuals, either in person or by telephone or other means of communication. (« services de soins de santé primaires »)



Scope

2(1)                   The rights and responsibilities set out in this Act apply within the New Brunswick health care system, which for this purpose consists of



(a)               those parts of the Department of Health and Wellness that provide health care services to the public, and the services so provided,



(b)               the regional health authorities established under the Regional Health Authorities Act and the health care services for which they are responsible, and



(c)                the health care services that are provided to the public by medical practitioners or other health care professionals and are paid for by the Department of Health and Wellness.



2(2)                   Nothing in this Act



(a)               limits the authority of the government of New Brunswick to determine what health care services shall form part of the New Brunswick health care system, nor when, where or to what extent those services will be provided,



(b)               requires the provision of any health care service that does not form part of the New Brunswick health care system, or         



(c)                requires a person referred to in paragraph (1)(c) to provide at any particular time or place a service that does form part of the New Brunswick health care system.



Rights and responsibilities

3(1)                   Every resident of New Brunswick has the following rights:



(a)               a right of timely access to health care services,



(b)               a right to receive relevant health care information,



(c)                a right to take informed health care decisions,



(d)               a right to safe, comfortable and considerate attention, and



(e)                a right to the investigation of complaints.



3(2)                   Every resident of New Brunswick has the following responsibilities in relation to the appropriate and effective exercise of the rights set out in subsection (1):



(a)               a responsibility to use health care services in a reasonable manner,



(b)               a responsibility to learn about and to make healthy lifestyle choices,



(c)                a responsibility to share appropriate health information with health care providers,



(d)               a responsibility to inform health care providers of any special communication requirements,



(e)                a responsibility to participate actively in health care decisions,



(f)                a responsibility to communicate health care decisions,



(g)               a responsibility to treat others with courtesy and consideration, and



(h)               a responsibility to use complaints mechanisms appropriately and cooperatively.



Details of rights and responsibilities

4(1)                   The right under paragraph 3(1)(a) of timely access to health care services means



(a)               a right to have primary health care services accessible at all times, with the services that are to be provided at any particular time or place being determined by the plans established under the Regional Health Authorities Act, and



(b)               a right to be referred to other necessary health care services within a reasonable time,



and carries with it



(c)                the responsibility under paragraph 3(2)(a) to use health care services in a reasonable manner, which includes a responsibility to access those services appropriately and to use them wisely, paying attention to any advice or instructions provided, and



(d)               the responsibility under paragraph 3(2)(b) to learn about and to make healthy lifestyle choices.



4(2)                   The right under paragraph 3(1)(b) to receive relevant health care information means



(a)               a right to receive information about the services that the New Brunswick health care system provides and about how to access them, as well as about other relevant health care services if health care providers are aware of them,



(b)               a right to receive information about the treatments, interventions and procedures that are appropriate to one's identified health care needs, and



(c)                a right to have relevant health information included in a patient record, and to examine that record and receive copies on payment of a reasonable fee,



and carries with it



(d)               the responsibility under paragraph 3(2)(c) to share appropriate health information with health care providers, including information about one's health care needs, decisions and history, and about any known or suspected intolerances of medications, and



(e)                the responsibility under paragraph 3(2)(d) to inform health care providers of any special communication requirements.



4(3)                   The right under paragraph 3(1)(c) to take informed health care decisions means



(a)               a right to be involved in the planning and review of one's care, and to have treatments, interventions and procedures, as well as risks, side-effects and alternatives, explained by an appropriate health care professional,



(b)               a right to request and receive information about the availability of second opinions,



(c)                a right to request and receive information about the professional qualifications of one's health care providers,



(d)               a right to consent, or to refuse consent, to any treatment, intervention or procedure, and



(e)                a right to ask questions and to have them answered,



and carries with it



(f)                the responsibility under paragraph 3(2)(e) to participate actively in health care decisions, which includes a responsibility to discuss treatment plans and discharge plans, and to seek and provide information as appropriate, and



(g)               the responsibility under paragraph 3(2)(f) to communicate health care decisions, which includes a responsibility to designate a substitute decision-maker when appropriate.



4(4)                   The right under paragraph 3(1)(d) to safe, comfortable and considerate attention means



(a)               a right to facilities that are operated with the safety and comfort of patients in mind, and



(b)               a right to be treated with courtesy and consideration, with proper respect being shown for one's personal privacy and for the confidentiality of one's personal health information,



and carries with it



(c)                the responsibility under paragraph 3(2)(g) to treat others with courtesy and consideration, which includes a responsibility to show proper respect for their personal privacy and for the confidentiality of their personal health information.



4(5)                   The right under paragraph 3(1)(e) to the investigation of complaints means



(a)               a right of easy access to simple and clear complaints mechanisms,



(b)               a right to have complaints investigated promptly, and resolved if possible, with explanations given, and



(c)                a right to the assistance of the Health and Wellness Advocate if needed,



and carries with it



(d)               the responsibility under paragraph 3(2)(h) to use complaints mechanisms appropriately and cooperatively.



Interpretation

5(1)                   If the nature or extent of any right or responsibility set out in this Act is defined or specified by or under any other Act or law or in a plan or standard established under the Regional Health Authorities Act or any other Act, that right or responsibility shall be interpreted in accordance with that Act, law, plan or standard.



5(2)                   Subject to subsection (1), the rights and responsibilities set out in this Act shall be interpreted by reference to accepted standards of good practice, having regard to



(a)               the financial, human and material resources available, and



(b)               the expectations and demands that individuals and health care providers can reasonably make of each other.



5(3)                   In determining whether proper effect has been given to an individual's rights under this Act, any relevant failure by the individual to discharge his or her responsibilities under this Act shall be taken into consideration.



5(4)                   A failure by an individual to discharge his or her responsibilities under this Act does not affect his or her entitlement to a health care service.



Corrective measures

6(1)                   If proper effect has not been given to an individual's rights under this Act, the body or person that has the authority to remedy the situation has a responsibility to take corrective measures that are designed



(a)               in relation to the individual, to give effect to the rights in question, to the extent that it is still practicable to do so given the passage of time, and



(b)               generally, to prevent similar occurrences in the future.



6(2)                   Corrective measures under subsection (1) are not required to go beyond what is reasonable in the circumstances, having regard to



(a)               the nature of the deficiency that has been identified,



(b)               the financial, human and material resources available, and



(c)                the needs of other patients.



Health and Wellness Advocate

7(1)                   The Lieutenant-Governor in Council shall appoint a Health and Wellness Advocate on the recommendation of the Legislative Assembly or of a Committee of the Legislative Assembly designated by resolution of the Legislative Assembly.



7(2)                   The Health and Wellness Advocate shall be appointed for a term of five years and is eligible for reappointment.



7(3)                   The Lieutenant-Governor in Council shall fix the salary of the Health and Wellness Advocate.



7(4)                   The Lieutenant-Governor in Council, acting on the recommendation of the Legislative Assembly or the Committee referred to in subsection (1), may remove the Health and Wellness Advocate from office for cause.



7(5)                   In the event of the absence or incapacity of the Health and Wellness Advocate, or if the office is vacant, the Lieutenant-Governor in Council may appoint another person as Acting Health and Wellness Advocate during the absence or incapacity or until a new appointment can be made under subsection (1).



7(6)                   The Health and Wellness Advocate is an officer of the Legislative Assembly and shall submit an annual report to the Legislative Assembly, or to the Committee referred to in subsection (1), as to the discharge of his or her duties.



7(7)                   The Health and Wellness Advocate may appoint staff and enter contracts for services to assist in the discharge of his or her duties.



7(8)                   The Public Service Superannuation Act applies to the Health and Wellness Advocate and to his or her staff.



Health and Wellness Advocate's duties

8(1)                   The Health and Wellness Advocate's duties are



(a)               to promote the understanding of this Act within the New Brunswick health care system and among the public at large,



(b)               to advise and assist individuals in the exercise of their rights and the performance of their responsibilities under this Act,



(c)                to receive, consider and attempt to resolve complaints by individuals that proper effect has not been given to their rights under this Act,



(d)               to promote the appropriate and responsible use of the New Brunswick health care system,



(e)                to make recommendations designed to improve the quality and sustainability of the services provided by the New Brunswick health care system, and



(f)                to promote measures that will improve the health and wellness of New Brunswickers.



8(2)                   The Health and Wellness Advocate may refuse to receive any complaint that in his or her opinion



(a)               is frivolous or vexatious,



(b)               relates to matters that occurred more than one year before complaint was made,



(c)                should be pursued further by the complainant with the person or body complained about before the Advocate becomes involved, or



(d)               would more appropriately be dealt with by another existing complaints mechanism or by judicial proceedings.



8(3)                   The Health and Wellness Advocate shall refuse to receive any complaint that falls within the jurisdiction of a body established by a Private Act to consider such complaints.



8(4)                   Complaints relating to the rights of a child or other individual who is unable to make the complaint personally may be made by a parent or guardian or other legal representative on his or her behalf.



Application to the Court of Queen's Bench

9(1)                   If the Health and Wellness Advocate is unable to resolve a complaint, and considers that the Department of Health and Wellness or a regional health authority should take further corrective measures under paragraph 6(1)(a) in relation to the individual, the Advocate may make a written recommendation to the Department or authority, with a copy to the complainant, as to what those measures should be.



9(2)                   Unless, within sixty days after receiving a recommendation under subsection (1), the Department of Health and Wellness or a regional health authority accepts the recommendation, the complainant may, within a further ninety days, apply to The Court of Queen's Bench of New Brunswick for a declaration that the Department or authority has unreasonably failed to follow the Health and Wellness Advocate's recommendation.



9(3)                   It is not unreasonable for the Department of Health and Wellness or a regional health authority to fail to follow the Health and Wellness Advocate's recommendation if



(a)               the recommendation is inconsistent with subsection 2(2) or subsection 6(2),



(b)               the recommendation is based on an incorrect interpretation of this Act or of any other Act, law, plan or standard referred to in subsection 5(1), or



(c)                the Department or authority has taken or proposed other corrective measures in relation to the individual that are as adequate as the Advocate's recommendation.



9(4)                   An application under subsection (2) is the exclusive judicial remedy for the enforcement of the rights set out in this Act, and except as provided by that subsection, the rights and responsibilities set out in this Act do not create any cause of action, nor do they limit or expand any right, obligation or remedy that exists independently of this Act.



Regulation-making authority

10                        The Lieutenant-Governor in Council may make regulations



(a)               defining any word or expression used in but not defined in this Act;



(b)               respecting standards to be observed, or guidelines to be used, in relation to timely access to particular health care services or in relation to any other matter to which this Act applies.



Commencement

11                        This Act or any provision of it comes into force on a day or days to be fixed by proclamation.

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Legend
* Private Bill
** Bill referred to Standing Committee on Law Amendments
+ Private Member's Public Bill
++ Motion for second reading defeated
+++ Debate at second reading adjourned
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