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, 87 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

In response to an increasing concern about Registered Nurse (RN) shortages since the COVID-19 pandemic, in April 2022 HealthCERT created a specific RN shortage section 31 notification form for aged residential care providers. This form provides the information that HealthCERT needs to assess risk and mitigation of the RN shortage, as well as information HealthCERT aims to share with working groups who are focussing on the national RN shortage.

Aged residential care providers shall use the Notification of Registered Nurse Shortage Form (Word, 68 KB) to notify HealthCERT if they experience a shift where insufficient RNs meant there was a health and safety risk for residents, or when contractual requirement pertaining to RN oversight is not met. 

Please submit this form as a Word document (avoid converting to a pdf document, or handwritten forms).

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, 94 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 Te Whatu Ora portfolio manager

If you hold a contract with Te Whatu Ora, you should also send a copy of the completed notification form to your Te Whatu Ora Portfolio Manager. 

Further information

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

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