What is considered healthcare under the Patient Injury Act?
Here you can read more about the conditions that must be met for the treatment to be covered by the Patient Injury Act.
In order for a claim to fall under the patient injury scheme there are two conditions that must be met:
- it must relate to healthcare
- the healthcare must have been provided by authorised healthcare personnel
If healthcare is provided by someone who is not authorised healthcare personnel, any claims would fall outside of the patient injury scheme. It also normally falls outside the scheme if healthcare personnel have administered treatment that is not considered healthcare. Both conditions must be met.
What is healthcare?
The term healthcare is used in some recent legislation, such as the Health Personnel Act, the Patient and User Rights Act and Patient Injury Act. The Patient and User Rights Act defines healthcare as: "actions for the purpose of prevention, diagnosis, treatment, health preservation, rehabilitation or nursing and care and that are performed by healthcare personnel".
This is in line with the definition of healthcare in the Health Personnel Act.
In connection with the inclusion of private healthcare in the patient injury scheme, it became important to draw clear boundaries as to what is considered healthcare and what might fall outside the term. The boundaries with alternative therapies and cosmetic treatment are particularly important.
A key element when determining whether the treatment is considered healthcare is the potential for injury of the treatment. If the potential for injury is major, it would normally fall under the definition of healthcare.
If the patient has not received sufficient information and believes that the treatment is ordinary healthcare, the treatment would normally fall under the definition of healthcare.
In the event that cosmetic treatment is performed but does not require the expertise of healthcare professionals, it would normally fall outside the patient injury scheme.
If the treatment goes below the skin (invasive) and resources or uses methods that are normally reserved for authorised healthcare personnel, it will normally be considered healthcare.
We do not consider treatment using fillers, for example, to be healthcare. Use of Botox is considered healthcare as the potential for injury is high and it is a drug.
Therapeutic horse riding and pool rehabilitation
Therapeutic horse riding and pool rehabilitation offered as part of the treatment provided by a physiotherapist are considered healthcare and are covered by the Patient Injury Act.
The Patient Injury Act covers alternative therapies provided as part of ordinary health service. If, alternative therapies are exclusively or predominantly provided, it will not be covered by the Patient Injury Act. This will apply in particular where authorised healthcare personnel's expertise is used only to a minor extent for providing alternative therapies and where the therapy is marketed as an alternative.
This could, for example, be acupuncture from a physician or physiotherapist if it is an integral part of an ordinary service. If acupuncture is predominantly what is on offer, it would most likely fall outside of the scope of the scheme. If exclusively providing alternative therapy, the treatment will not be covered by the scheme. You can read more about alternative therapies here.