Insights

VCAT confirms COAG Ministerial Direction 2019-1 not binding on Tribunals

In January last year, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council published a new Ministerial direction with the intention of requiring AHPRA and the National Boards to make public protection the paramount consideration when administering the National Law. Policy Direction 2019-1 seeks to provide clarity on the application of the third guiding principle of […]

Health Complaints Act 2016 (Vic) – does it really apply to me? Important implications for registered health professionals employed by bodies corporate in Victoria

In 2016, the Victorian government introduced the Health Complaints Act 2016 (Vic) (the Act) which launched a new framework for managing and resolving complaints regarding all Victorian health service providers. As part of these reforms, the office of the Health Complaints Commissioner (the HCC) was established, replacing the former office of the Health Services Commissioner. […]

New and expanded AHPRA Advertising Guidelines: a welcome aid to compliance

Meridian Lawyers has published several Health Insights in the past about the importance of understanding and adhering to the advertising obligations set out under section 133 of the National Law. However, claims concerning advertising continue to be a recurring theme in our Health Law practice, indicating some persisting confusion about the boundaries of what is […]

A case scenario on patient privacy – can I discuss a deceased patient’s care with their family members?

Meridian Lawyers often receives calls from doctors and other health practitioners requesting one-off advice relating to their day-to-day practice. Recently, we have received a number of requests for advice about patient privacy and more specifically about the circumstances in which a health practitioner might be permitted to discuss a deceased patient with their family. The […]

A case scenario on death certificates – who can sign them and when?

Meridian Lawyers often receives calls from doctors and other health practitioners requesting one-off advice relating to their day-to-day practice. One common and enduring theme of these requests for advice is death certificates – who can prepare them, and when? For example, if a patient dies in an aged care home, can a locum doctor certify […]

Coroners Court Directions Hearings now required within 28 days for mandatory inquest deaths

The Victorian State Coroner recently issued Practice Direction 5 of 2020 – ‘Directions Hearings in Mandatory Inquests’, requiring that in all cases where an inquest must be held, and unless reasons exist otherwise, a Directions Hearing will be convened within 28 days of the death being reported to the Coroner. A mandatory inquest is required […]

VCAT upholds use of immediate action power to suspend doctor over social media use

Meridian Lawyers recently published an article examining the power to take immediate action against health practitioners under section 156 of the National Law (if you missed it, that article can be read here). It considered a recent VCAT decision[1], wherein a doctor was suspended under section 156(1)(e), being the power to take immediate action in […]

Accidentally sending an email to the wrong email address can cost you

Key lessons from ‘SD’ and ‘SE’ and Northside Clinic (Vic) Pty Ltd [2020] AlCmr 21 We recently published an article about the importance of protecting your patients’ private information, and what to do if there is an inadvertent disclosure of sensitive patient data. If you missed it, that article can be read here. In June […]

What do I do if there is an accidental breach of my patient’s privacy? Advice for health practitioners and organisations

It is trite advice to Australian health practitioners to say that they must exercise caution when dealing with their patients’ sensitive health information. However, even the most cautious practitioner or organisation can fall victim to an inadvertent breach of patient privacy.  Accidents happen, and Meridian Lawyers frequently receives requests for assistance from practitioners or organisations […]

Taking action against health practitioners in the “public interest” – two years on, how is the new immediate action power being applied in practice?

One of the most stressful circumstances a registered health practitioner can encounter, is when they receive a notice from their National Board stating that it intends to take immediate action against them under section 156 of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (National Law). The proposed immediate action can be very serious, ranging from a […]

Coroner’s findings emphasise the potential risks of relying on telehealth without in-patient review

Recently we published an article outlining some of the risks and limitations for medical practitioners using telehealth to provide care for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.  In particular, we discussed the need for practitioners to consider and assess whether a consultation is safe and clinically appropriate to be conducted via telehealth, or whether an in-person […]

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