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Education session for a migrant
families' autism support group
The Code of Rights for the Chinese
Education for the
Meeting at a
Assistance with complaint to
session to women's refugee group
Making a difference
Education session for
a migrant families' autism support group
An advocate was invited to present to the support group about
the role of the Health and Disability Commissioner, the Code of
Rights for people living in NZ, and how the Nationwide Advocacy
Service can assist people to resolve complaints.
It was the first time this particular group had heard about
advocacy and HDC, so they were keenly focused on linking the Code
of Rights to their own life circumstances.
Many of the participants shared their concerns about the
difficulties they have communicating with providers. They told the
advocate that it is particularly difficult for those with English
as a second language, as well as lacking the confidence to speak
The group were pleased to know they can receive support from
advocacy when they need to, and that an advocate can assist them to
self-advocate when their concerns do not fit under the HDC Act. At
the end of the education session two people approached the advocate
requesting she contact them as they required her support to address
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The Code of Rights
for the Chinese community
An advocate was invited to speak to a Mainland Chinese Community
group on the Code of Rights, the Advocacy Service and the role of
the Health and Disability Commissioner. It was the first time this
particular group had heard about these topics, so they were keenly
focused on linking the Code of Rights to their own life
circumstances. There was great discussion with the group as they
identified a high need to be informed.
The advocate, speaking through a competent interpreter,
delivered key messages about the contents of the Code of Rights by
giving practical examples wherever appropriate, with a thorough
explanation of Right 5, effective communication, and interpreter's
indispensable role. This focused approach was very appropriate,
because communication is often a barrier for this group of
consumers who often have English as a second language, and who
often do not have the confidence to speak up. Two of the
participants, who had previously experienced difficulties with
their GPs, were keen to share their concerns.
The group felt the advocate's presentation was helpful to them
in terms of developing vital awareness among them about their
rights and protections when accessing Health and/or Disability
Services in NZ. The information which was new to them, and
made them feel empowered to speak up if necessary in the
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Education for the
At the invitation of the Bhutanese Refugee Community the local
advocate presented an education session on the Code of Rights and
the Advocacy Service. This particular group of people had recently
arrived in the country after spending many years in refugee
Using a qualified interpreter, the advocate provided the
education session requested, paying particular attention to the
Consumer's right to effective communication, as this is an area
which can be a major barrier for this specific category of
vulnerable consumers who are new to the county, are not able to
speak English and have a low level of self-confidence. The audience
was interactive, engaging in discussions and reflections on the
various aspects of the Code and Right 5 in particular.
Four consumers, who had previously faced difficulties with their
primary healthcare providers, wished to share their experiences.
They said that interpreters were not provided in spite of their
explicit request when they booked their appointments. The lack of
interpreters meant there consultations did not go as well as they
The group was pleased with the information provided,
particularly when they were given handouts in their own language.
They were pleased to know there is a free independent organisation
to support them to have their Rights upheld.
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Meeting at a medical
A consumer, who injured himself during
a fall, sought assistance at a medical centre. He contacted
advocacy because said that doctor failed to diagnose his injuries
and prescribed medication that upset his stomach. He also said that
the receptionist initially refused to give him an appointment as
she could not find his name on the database, and then laughed at
him, which he believes was a result of his inability to speak
English well. He eventually requested a referral to a
specialist and was diagnosed as having five fractured ribs.
As the consumer's first language was
not that of the advocate, an interpreter was used during their
meeting. The consumer opted to have the advocate write to the
provider about his concerns and request a meeting to discuss
The advocate supported the consumer at
the meeting where the doctor agreed to write him a letter of
explanation, confirming that he had suffered five undiagnosed
fractured ribs. The doctor also apologised on behalf of the
receptionist and promised to speak with her regarding effective
communication strategies. The consumer was very happy with the
outcome of the meeting.
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with complaint to clinic
Refugees ~ Respect ~ Communication ~ Interpreters
A consumer from a refugee community visited the specialist
refugee/migrant advocate at her office, seeking support to make a
complaint about poor communication and lack of respect by staff
members at a clinic providing community health services.
The consumer requested the advocate write to the manager of the
service and advise him of her concerns. The letter was approved by
the consumer prior to being sent.
The consumer received an apology from the manager on behalf of
the service and an assurance that her concerns had been discussed
When she returned to the clinic she could see a big difference.
Communication had improved and the staff treated her with respect.
She was very happy with the outcome and thanked the advocate for
assisting her to exercise her rights.
difference through networking
Members from the migrant/refugee community were invited by the
local advocate, in a provincial town, to meet the regional
Refugee/Migrant Advocate. The focus of the discussion was to be on
the rights in the Code as well as the role of an advocate. However,
as the meeting discussions flowed it became apparent that the
community also required support and information in relation to
their cultural values and beliefs.
One of the gaps in their information was the need to find out
the name of any local butchers who provided Halal meat in the
region as consumers from their area were travelling over six hours
to a major city to purchase their meat. Through her networks, the
local advocate was able to find out where Halal meat was available
in the area, and passed on contact details and the location of
where it could be purchased.
This small action taken by the advocate has done much to create
trust between this community and the advocacy service.