Promoting Excellence in Sexual and Reproductive Health

Cultural Safety Policy

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The training of trainees and specialists to enable them to be competent to function effectively and respectfully when treating and working with people of different cultural backgrounds.


To reduce the significant inequities in health that exist between different cultural populations in New Zealand. The New Zealand College of Sexual and Reproductive Health (NZCSRH) is responsible for supporting its trainees and specialists to further develop a culturally competent specialist workforce.


The Medical Council has previously defined cultural competence as “a doctor has the attitudes, skills and knowledge needed to function effectively and respectfully when working with and treating people of different cultural backgrounds”. While it is important, cultural competence is not enough to improve health outcomes, although it may contribute to delivering culturally safe care.

Cultural safety requires doctors to reflect on how their own views and biases impact on their clinical interactions and the care they provide to patients.

Medical Council of New Zealand Statement on cultural safety
The full Statement on Cultural Safety can be found on the MCNZ website

The NZCSRH recognises that a culturally safe Fellow needs to be able to:

  • Understand that cultural factors impact on health and illness including disease prevalence and response to treatment.
  • Recognise and understand how a doctor’s own culture and belief system can influence their patient interactions.
  • Appreciate there is a diverse range of ethnic and cultural differences within the New Zealand population.
  • Appreciate that general cultural information may not apply to individual patients from that culture.
  • Understand how to work with the patient’s cultural beliefs, values and practices to develop an appropriate management plan.
  • Be prepared to ask a patient about their preferences.
  • Be open to and engage in learning about cultures different from their own.

Advanced Trainees

The NZCSRH Advanced Training Programme ensures trainees have access to significant training experiences in cultural safety Cultural Safety is a specific component of the Advanced Training Programme and includes:

  1. Completion of the online Foundation Course in Cultural Competency This online Foundation Course in Cultural Competency was developed specifically for the registered New Zealand health workforce and provides a basic understanding of cultural competency & health literacy in the New Zealand Health context.
  2. Completion of the NZCSRH Advanced Training Cultural Safety Training – see curriculum documents.

NZCSRH Fellows

To ensure Fellows of the NZCSRH meet Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements NZCSRH will:

  • Identify resources and courses for specialists to improve their understanding of Tikanga Māori and Te Reo.
  • Identify resources and courses for specialists to improve their cultural competency.
  • Improve specialists’ understanding of the outcomes of care and causes of sexual and reproductive health inequity across different cultures.
  • Collaborate with employers and accredited training sites to ensure Cultural Safety is embedded in work sites and clinical practice.

The SRH CPD Programme ensures Fellows have access to significant training in Cultural Safety and that evaluation of Cultural Safety is a specific component of their CPD. Within the first three years of becoming a Fellow of the NZCSRH the Fellow will complete either:

  1. The online Foundation Course in Cultural Competency
  2. CALD 1 Culture and Cultural Competency Course

NZCSRH acknowledges the role of the New Zealand Medical Council in providing resources to ensure trainees and specialists practice culturally competent medicine.


Any dispute in this regard will be referred to the NZSRHECT Board according to the Complaints Policy.

Policy Owner: NZSRHECT Board | Date: May 2022 | Review Date: July 2022




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