Section 125 of the Health Act 1956 – Medical examination of children

A health care worker may need to perform a simple check on a child at a school or early childcare centre to determine if the child has a medical condition such as an ear infection, head lice, scabies, or vision or hearing loss.

Wherever possible, health workers who need to examine children should always seek consent from the child’s parents/guardian in accordance with Right 7 of the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights.  However, there can be are situations where a health worker is unable to obtain consent. A health worker can perform a medical examination without consent only if they are authorised by the Minister of Health according to section 125 of the Health Act 1956.

Health care workers who are authorised to examine children without consent should be familiar with the Ministry’s Guidelines for medical examination of children under section 125 of the Health Act (Word, 257 KB).

Organisations or employers must apply to the Ministry on behalf of employees or health workers who require authorisation to perform medical examinations without consent.

Who can be authorised?

  • Registered nurses
  • Medical officers of health
  • Vision and hearing technicians

Application process

Organisations or employers of health workers must apply to the Ministry using the Application for Section 125 Authorisation and the Children’s Act Safety Check Employer Verification forms.

The Children’s Act Safety Check Employer Verification form is used to confirm that:

  • a health worker’s current or former employer has completed a core children’s worker safety check. This check must meet the requirements of the Children’s Act 2014 and the Children (Requirements for Safety Checks of Children’s Workers) Regulations 2015 (the Children’s Legislation)
  • the employee has agreed to comply with the organisation’s Child Protection Policy.

Safety checks are portable, ie, a safety check remains current for three years, even if a worker moves to another employer.

For health workers who have not had a safety check within the past three years, their employer or organisation must complete a safety check that includes:

  • verifying identification
  • Police vetting
  • employment or personal references
  • employment history
  • applicant interview
  • professional membership check (registration and annual practising certificate)
  • final assessment.

How to apply

Complete applications will be processed within 20 working days of receipt. Employers will be advised by the Ministry if applications have been approved, or if we need more information.

Send your application and safety check forms to:

By post:

HealthCERT
Ministry of Health
PO Box 5013
Wellington

or by email: certification@health.govt.nz

Further information

For further information, please phone 0800 113 813 or email certification@health.govt.nz.

Audit

To comply with Children’s Legislation requirements, the Ministry must be satisfied that all people exercising the powers conferred under Section 125(2) of the Health Act 1956, are safety checked and all employers have a child protection policy.

From time to time, the Ministry may audit authorisations to ensure people have been safety checked to the required standards. Employers must be able to provide written evidence of safety checks if they are audited.

 

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