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

For Aged Residential Care (ARC) providers, use the Registered nurse availability in ARC Section 31 notification form (PDF, 198 KB). 

Download the editable from, fill out the fields, (the first section is mandatory) and email it to [email protected] and your DHB.

Report all instances where:

  • providers are unable to meet minimum Age Related Residential Care services agreement (ARRC) or Aged Residential Hospital Specialised services agreement (ARHS) requirements for registered nurse (RN) staffing
  • at high risk of being unable to meet ARRC or ARHS agreement requirements for RN staffing without extraordinary actions having been taken.

Use the form to provide details about:

  • the specific shift or series of shifts where an RN staffing shortage has occurred, meaning ARRC or ARHS agreement requirements have not been met or where there was a high risk of the requirements not being met, and
  • current recruitment activities being undertaken by the ARC facility (if applicable)
  • any extraordinary actions outside of the usual processes might include extra shifts worked by full time staff, engaging staff from another facility as a one-off situation and clinical manager working a RN shift.

Note: Business as usual activities such as annual leave, sick leave, etc. don't require reporting on this form.

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.

For pressure injuries use Notification of a pressure injury form (Word, 67 KB). Reporting is required irrespective of where the pressure injury was acquired.

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].

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