Insights

  • Health,
  • Jul 20, 2020
  • Author: Kellie Dell’Oro
  • INSIGHT: 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 […]

  • Health,
  • Jun 18, 2020
  • Author: Kellie Dell’Oro
  • INSIGHT: 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 […]

  • Health,
  • May 28, 2020
  • Author: Kellie Dell’Oro
  • INSIGHT: 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 […]

  • Health,Insurance,
  • May 15, 2020
  • Author: Kellie Dell’Oro
  • INSIGHT: A warning to health practitioners: is your professional indemnity insurance in place?

    The Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) has sent a loud message to all health practitioners to actively check that their professional indemnity insurance (PII) arrangements are in order by suspending a psychologist who failed to do so[1]. The practitioner in question had delegated the task of paying all insurance renewals to a family member, […]

  • Health,
  • Apr 30, 2020
  • Author: Kellie Dell’Oro
  • INSIGHT: Using the new MBS telehealth item numbers to care for patients from home? Here are some of the risks and limitations for medical practitioners

    As part of the national health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian Government has rolled out new temporary Medicare Benefit Scheme (MBS) ‘telehealth’ items.  The purpose of these item numbers is to enable patients to receive essential health care during the pandemic whilst reducing the community transmission of COVID-19.  At this stage, the item […]

  • Health,
  • Apr 16, 2020
  • Author: Kellie Dell’Oro
  • INSIGHT: A reminder on section 130 of the National Law: notify the National Boards of ‘certain events’, or face a possible finding of unprofessional conduct

    Most registered health practitioners are aware of the obligation to notify the National Board of certain events should they occur.  These requirements are set out in section 130 of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009 (the “National Law”).  However, we have recently seen an ‘uptick’ in the number of disciplinary decisions which have […]

  • Health,Insurance,
  • Apr 1, 2020
  • Author: Kellie Dell’Oro
  • INSIGHT: Supreme Court of Victoria opts to hear would-be jury trial by judge alone in an effort to keep the wheels of justice turning

    As our clients will all be well aware, Victorian courts have presently suspended jury trials until further notice in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  This means that unless alternatives are found, many trials will be postponed for hearing once the restrictions are lifted, and will have to jostle for court time together with the ordinary […]

  • Health,
  • Mar 25, 2020
  • Author: Kellie Dell’Oro
  • INSIGHT: A wrongful birth case study: Nouri v Australian Capital Territory [2020] ACTCA 1

    The Australian Capital Territory Court of Appeal (ACT CoA) has recently issued a decision in a wrongful birth case, exploring issues around both breach of duty and causation. Ultimately, the Court decided in favour of the hospital which provided prenatal care to the infant’s mother. The decision is an interesting one, in that although the […]

  • Health,
  • Dec 6, 2019
  • Author: Kellie Dell’Oro
  • INSIGHT: Coroner recommends new standard for in patient observations

    The Coroner has recommended that the Chief Psychiatrist in Victoria formulate a directive in relation to standard protocols for conducting visual observations of patients at in-patient facilities. The recommendation comes as the result of findings at the inquest into the death of a woman who passed away whilst she was an in-patient at a private […]

  • Health,
  • Nov 18, 2019
  • Author: Kellie Dell’Oro
  • INSIGHT: VCAT confirms that disciplinary consequences may befall practitioners who treat their own family

    In 2019 we have seen an increased focus by AHPRA and the National Boards on ensuring the observance of professional boundaries between registered health service providers and their patients.  In our experience, investigations into professional boundary transgressions are most commonly triggered when a romantic relationship between the practitioner and the patient turns sour. However, these […]

  • Health,
  • Nov 13, 2019
  • Author: Kellie Dell’Oro
  • INSIGHT: A reminder about the potential strength of ‘usual practice’ evidence

    Phelan v Melbourne Health [2019] VSCA 205 Defending or even assessing the merits of an action in medical negligence can often be challenging when the medical practitioners involved cannot recall the particular patient concerned. Through no one’s fault, memory can be impeded by the lapse of time and high patient volume loads. As such, it […]

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