Promoting mental health, demystifying mental illness, countering stigma and discrimination

Seeking Official Information

Everyone has the right to access information on file, held by a health provider. This information needs to be readily available to the person receiving services. Most providers are only too willing to ensure this access to information is available unless there is a specific reason for not doing so.

What is Official Information?

Official Information means any information held by Local and/or Central Government agencies.  Within the sphere of mental health services it applies to any health purchaser or health provider.

If you are in a hospital setting:

You have the right to view your own Mental Health file/s at a mutually agreed time; please ask your Primary Nurse.

If you are wanting to view a Mental Health file that is not yours, we will require written consent from the person that the information is about.

If you are being treated by Taranaki Health Mental Health Services as an Outpatient:

Please make your request to view your file in writing and send the letter to:

Quality and Risk Manager
Mental Health Services
Taranaki Health
Private Bag 2016
New Plymouth.  4620.
The Quality & Risk Manager will respond to your request as soon as possible and also provide some suitable dates and times to view your files at Mental Health Outpatients department.
The Quality & Risk Manager will arrange for a staff member to be present when you view your mental health files.

The staff member may be a Psychiatrist, your Key Worker or another staff member who is known to you. This staff member is available to explain the content of your file, answer any questions you may have regarding your file and also mark the documents that you may like photocopied.

If you are being treated by a non-hospital provider of Mental Health Services:

You should ask a person in authority within the organisation for the opportunity to look at your file.

Can a Request for Information be refused?

Yes.  Information must be made available to you unless a reason exists under the Privacy Act for not releasing it.
If your request is refused, you must be told the reason for the refusal. Generally, there are very few instances when information is withheld.
If it is, there is usually a very good reason for doing so.

The Official Information Act 1982 has rules for requesting information.

Under this Act you can:
  • Request access to any specified information
  • Seek reasons for decisions made about you
  • Request access to internal processes affecting decisions

Can you appeal?

Yes you can appeal to the Ombudsman if:
  • You are refused access to information sought
  • The person handling the request fails to respond within 20 working days from the time the request for information was made
  • You are not happy about the way the information has been made available
  • Personal information is not corrected as you would like it to be

How to make a complaint

You should write a letter to the nearest Office of the Ombudsman.
From Taranaki this is:  P O Box 10152,
Tel: (04) 473 9553
You should include the following information:
  • The name of the organisation complained about
  • Detail the nature of the complaint and how the outcome has affected you
  • Enclose any relevant correspondence

If you have any difficulty in writing the complaint, do not hesitate to ask for help.

Support Services in Taranaki:

Taranaki Health Mental Health Services:
Consumer Advisor
Tel: 06 7537749 Ext: 8550
Family/Whanau Advisor
Tel: 06 7537749 Ext: 8550

Your Primary Nurse or Key Worker

SF (Supporting Families) - Taranaki
New Plymouth
Tel: 06 757 9300
Nationwide Health & Disability Services
2nd Floor Kings Building
P.O.Box 5016
New Plymouth
Tel: 06 759 2111 or 0800 423 638


District Inspector of Mental Health Services - Taranaki:
Murray Cochrane,
P O Box 243,
New Plymouth

Tel: 06 758 6049

Like Minds Taranaki gratefully acknowledges the financial support of this website by the Ministry of Health

Feedback is always welcome

Taranaki Mental Health Sector