Māori Pathways trials new health consent forms

15 December 2020

A new form for people in our care to consent giving their healthcare information to external providers is about to be trialled as part of the Māori Pathways programme.

Principal Adviser Health Julia Mitchell said the change is a response to feedback that the current form is very legalised and difficult to understand.

“We had some examples of where safety and medical incidents could have been managed better if the external provider had received prior health information.

“One of the reasons consent hadn’t happened was the complexity of the form,” Julia says.

As the Māori Pathways work will include more external providers it was timely to look at whether the consent process could be improved.

Māori Pathways Senior Service Designer Pania Haruru says the new form is still a legal document, but is written in language that is more relevant to the people who will need to understand and sign it.

It clearly outlines what type of health information will be shared and puts the request in the context of a person’s wellbeing journey. It acknowledges that their health information is tapu (sacred) and valued.

“This the kind of small change that Māori Pathways can introduce as part of our aim for corrections system to be more effective by using kaupapa Māori approaches,” Pania says.

“We will be trying it out first in Hawkes Bay and if it is successful it is something that can be rolled out more widely.”

Success will be measured by the men’s comfort and willingness to use the new forms, and if there are no identifiable issues, the team in Hawkes Bay will share the new forms more widely next year.

“Yes - it is a really small change.  But with lots of small steps, you can move quite a distance,” Pania says.