The Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Act 2022 (the Act) is the governing legislation for Te Tāhū Hauora Health Quality & Safety Commission (referred to in the Act as HQSC). The Act enables HQSC to appoint mortality review committees with specified provisions.
Under section 79 of the Act, the objectives of HQSC are to lead and coordinate work across the health sector for the purposes of —
(a) monitoring and improving the quality and safety of services; and
(b) helping providers to improve the quality and safety of services.
Under Section 80(1) of the Act, the functions of HQSC are—
(a) to advise the Minister on how quality and safety in services may be improved; and
(b) to advise the Minister on any matter relating to—
(i) health epidemiology and quality assurance; or
(ii) mortality; and
(c) to determine quality and safety indicators (such as serious and sentinel events) for use in measuring the quality and safety of services; and
(d) to provide public reports on the quality and safety of services as measured against—
(i) the quality and safety indicators; and
(ii) any other information that HQSC considers relevant for the purpose of the report; and
(e) to promote and support better quality and safety in services; and
(f) to disseminate information about the quality and safety of services; and
(g) to support the health sector to engage with consumers and whānau for the purpose of ensuring that their perspectives are reflected in the design, delivery, and evaluation of services; and
(h) to develop a code of expectations for consumer and whānau engagement in the health sector for approval by the Minister; and
(i) to make recommendations to any person in relation to matters within the scope of its functions; and
(j) to perform any other function that—
(i) relates to the quality and safety of services; and
(ii) HQSC is for the time being authorised to perform by the Minister by written notice to HQSC after consultation with it.
Under section 82 of the Act,
(1) HQSC may appoint one or more committees to perform any of the following functions that HQSC specifies by notice to the committee:
(a) to review and report to HQSC on specified classes of deaths of persons, or deaths of persons of specified classes, with a view to reducing the numbers of deaths of those classes or persons, and to continuous quality improvement through the promotion of ongoing quality assurance programmes;
(b) to advise on any other matters related to mortality that HQSC specifies in the notice.
(2) A committee appointed under subsection (1) (a mortality review committee) must develop strategic plans and methodologies that—
(a) are designed to reduce morbidity and mortality; and
(b) are relevant to the committee’s functions.
(a) must, at least annually, provide the Minister with a report on the progress of mortality review committees; and
(b) must include each such report in HQSC’s next annual report.
(4) The provisions of Schedule 5 apply in relation to a mortality review committee.
(5) Every person who fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with a requirement imposed under Schedule 5 by the chairperson of a mortality review committee commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000.
(6) Every person who discloses information contrary to Schedule 5 commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000.
(7) Any member of a registered occupational profession who commits an offence under subsection (5) or (6) is liable to any disciplinary proceedings of that profession in respect of the offence, whether or not they are fined under that subsection.
Schedule 5 outlines provisions applying to mortality review committees that HQSC appoints.
These provisions grant the National Mortality Review Committee, or an agent the Committee appoints, the statutory power to source any information relevant to their purpose. The committee, and its agents, are also charged with strict confidentiality conditions for the collection, storage and use of the information they hold.