COMPLAINTS

 

Anyone can make a complaint in writing to the CEPNZ Board regarding the behaviour of a registered member of CEPNZ. The complaints process is based on the processes adopted by other health practitioners’ professional societies or statutory regulated professions. The cost of the Complaints Tribunal and hearing costs including room hire are covered by CEPNZ. The complainant and practitioner will not be reimbursed for any of their costs including but not limited to their time, travel, and accommodation.

 

PRE-HEARING PROCEDURES

 

When the Secretary of CEPNZ receives a written complaint about a member, the CEPNZ Board is required to establish a Complaints Tribunal made up of one Board member, one practicing member and one lay member*. The Board member will chair the Tribunal. Within 10 working days of receiving a complaint that contains all the information in the 6 bullet points below, the secretary will circulate the complaint to the members of the Tribunal. Based on this written information, members of the Tribunal will make one of two recommendations to the Board: 1) complaint warrants investigation; or 2) complaint does not warrant investigation. The Tribunal’s recommendation will be returned to the Secretary within 7 days. The Board will usually accept the Tribunal’s recommendation, however, based on the complaint letter and Tribunal members’ recommendations, the Board has the authority to choose whether to investigate or not investigate the complaint.

 

Upon receipt of a complaint, if the letter does not contain the following information, the Secretary will request missing information so that the following is available to the Board and the Tribunal:

  1. The names of all of the people involved, including any witnesses;

  2. The date(s) that the incident(s) occurred;

  3. The place(s) where the incident(s) occurred;

  4. A detailed description of what happened including the particular factors that led to the complaint;

  5. Whether the practitioner has been informed of complaint and if so, his/her response;

  6. Any additional information that will assist an investigation.

 

Within 7 days of the Board’s decision to hear the complaint, the Tribunal is notified, the practitioner is notified, and a date, time and locality is set for the hearing to be held within 60 days of when the practitioner was notified. Within this time-frame the Secretary and practitioner are able to negotiate the hearing date, time and locality. The Secretary will, upon the request of the Tribunal, seek written evidence, copies of clinical notes and any other records that may help the Tribunal at the hearing.

 

* This person is preferably a lawyer or someone who has experience in hearing complaints procedures. 

 

HEARING PROCEDURES

The Board member appointee to the Tribunal will chair the hearing. The rules of natural justice will apply. The complainant and practitioner are able to provide additional written, visual or oral evidence.

 

The Tribunal Chair will:

  1. Describe the hearing procedures

  2. Invite each party to introduce themselves to the Tribunal

  3. Invite the complainant to make an opening statement regarding the complaint

  4. Invite the practitioner to make an opening statement regarding the complaint

  5. Invite the complainant to present the evidence

  6. Tribunal members may ask questions of the complainant

  7. Invite the practitioner to respond to the evidence

  8. Tribunal members may ask questions of the practitioner

  9. Invite the complainant to make a closing statement

  10. Invite the practitioner to make a closing statement

  11. Conclude the proceedings explaining the post-hearing process and possible outcomes.

 

OUTCOMES

The potential outcomes are:

  1. The Tribunal determines no further action should be taken;

  2. That the Board counsels the practitioner;

  3. The practitioner is fined a sum commensurate with the nature of the complaint;

  4. The Board requires a course of remedial training the cost of which is born by the practitioner;

  5. The Board suspends the practitioner’s membership of CEPNZ for a period not exceeding 12 months;

  6. The Board removes the practitioner permanently from the CEPNZ Register.

 

APPEALS

If the complainant or the practitioner believes that their case was not adequately addressed at the hearing, or if the outcome is considered to be inconsistent with the nature of the complaint, an appeal may be lodged. An appeal must be made in writing and include details of the reasons for the appeal. Notice of an appeal must be received by the Secretary of the CEPNZ Board within 30 days for the parties receiving notification of the hearing’s outcome.

 

The appeal will be heard by the Board within 60 days of its receipt. The Board’s decision is final. The complainant and the practitioner have the right to take their case to the Ministry of Justice Disputes Tribunal, or pursue any other form of resolution allowed by NZ law.

 

PENALTIES

The significance of suspension is that, for the period of the suspension, the practitioner will not be able to retain employment as a Registered NZ Clinical Exercise Physiologist with a district health board or other organisation that requires registration as a term of employment, nor receive remuneration from any compensation scheme or insurance company that provides coverage for clinical exercise services conducted by practitioners with CEPNZ registration. In the case of de-registration, these penalties are permanent.

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