Notifying an incident under section 31

Section 31(5) of the Health and Disability Services (Safety) Act 2001 requires certified providers to notify the Director-General of Health about any:

  • health and safety risk to residents or a situation that puts (or could potentially put) the health and safety of people at risk
  • Police investigation into any aspects of the service
  • death reported to the Coroner of a person to whom you have provided services or that occurred in any premises in which services are provided.

Reporting of these incidents enables providers and the health system to review and learn from adverse events. This knowledge helps everyone to provide safe and quality services.

If you are an aged residential care provider, hospice or provide maternity services, please use the Notification of an incident under section 31 form (Word, 63 KB) to advise HealthCERT of these incidents.

The Section 31 Reporting Guidelines (Word, 68 KB) provide more information about what incidents should be reported and things to consider when reporting an incident.

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus capable of causing severe respiratory illness) has been added to Section B of Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Health Act 1956 and is now a notifiable disease. Cases or outbreaks of COVID-19 do not require notification to HealthCERT under Section 31. For information on COVID-19 reporting, please see updated advice for health professionals on the Ministry's COVID-19 website. 

Registered nurse workforce availability in aged residential care

From July 2019 HealthCERT collected information about registered nurse availability (RN-A) in aged residential care (ARC) under the section 31 notification process as part of the RN-A work programme. This required ARC providers to complete a specifically designed RN-A section 31 notification form. This programme is now complete and the specific RN-A in ARC section 31 notification process is no longer required. Please continue to use the standard Section 31 notification form to notify of a potential health and safety risk resulting from registered nurse coverage issues.

Pressure injuries

Currently HealthCERT requires aged residential care providers, hospices and maternity services to report all pressure injuries at stage 3 and above on a separate form. That is:

  • all stage 3 and stage 4 pressure injuries
  • unstageable pressure injuries
  • suspected deep tissue injuries.

Mucosal pressure injuries occur within a body opening, such as a nostril or the mouth. They are usually associated with pressure from a device, for example, an endotracheal or nasogastric tube.

Although mucosal pressure injuries fall outside the current cutaneous staging system, they are significant as can increase the risk of pain, infection and other problems in a vulnerable person.

For pressure injuries use Notification of a pressure injury form (Word, 75 KB). Reporting is required irrespective of where the pressure injury was acquired.

From December 2020, the notification form has been updated to include mucosal pressure injuries.

Advising your district health board

If you hold a contract with your local district health board (DHB), you should also send a copy of the completed notification form to your DHB Portfolio Manager. 

Further information

If you have any questions, please contact HealthCERT on 0800 113 813 or at [email protected].

Back to top