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Abuse of Process in Disciplinary Proceedings

SAT proceedings were commenced by the Medical Board of Australia (MBA)  against the Practitioner in late 2014 following receipt of a notification from the patient's widow in 2012. The notification related to the performance of an angioplasty procedure for the patient in 2005. In July 2015 the MBA amended the application to include further claims, being the "False Representation Claim" and the "Inadequate Training Claim"....

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Medical Board and AHPRA adopt all recommendations of chaperone report

The Medical Board of Australia (MBA) and Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) recently released the report Independent review of the use of chaperones to protect patients in Australia and have accepted all its recommendations. The review found the use of chaperones does not meet community expectations and does not always keep patients safe. The review considered whether, and ...

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Responsible advertising of health services

The Advertising compliance and enforcement strategy for the National Scheme explains how National Boards and AHPRA will manage advertising complaints and compliance, including the regulatory powers available to deal with breaches of the National Law. Under the National Law, a regulated health service or a business providing a regulated health service must not advertise in a way that: is ...

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GP Suspended for Slapping a Child's Face during Consulation

The child and his mother had attended for an appointment so that the GP might try to help the child swallow his ADHD medication. The GP attempted to teach the child how to swallow the medication over a period of about 50 minutes. The child refused and fidgeted in his chair. At one stage, the GP placed his feet on the top of the child's feet in an attempt to keep him still. The child continued to refuse ...

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Hospital negligent over amputation of child’s thumb

The plaintiff had sustained a severe complex crushing injury to his left thumb and was diagnosed with fractures. Following his presentation to the hospital, the plaintiff’s surgery for wound exploration, washout and fixation of his fractures was postponed until the next morning due to the later arrival of other emergencies that hospital staff had assessed as having higher priority. The plaintiff also received antibiotic therapy at the hospital....

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New AMA Code of Ethics for Doctors

For the first time since 2006, the Code has been substantially revised, culminating in the Code of Ethics 2004. Editorially Revised 2006. Revised 2016. AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, says that a Code of Ethics is essential for setting and maintaining the very high standards of ethical behaviour that society expects from the medical profession. The updated AMA Code of Ethics for the first time ...

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New Privacy Act Data Breach Obligations Update

Eligible Data Breaches The Act sets up a scheme for notification of ‘eligible data breaches’. An eligible data breach happens if: there is unauthorised access to, unauthorised disclosure of, or loss of, personal information held by an entity; and, the access, disclosure or loss is likely to result in serious harm to any of the individuals to whom the information relates., Examples ...

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Surgeon reprimanded and fined for permitting doctor not registered in Australia to perform operation

In a recent decision of the Professional Standards Committee Inquiry, a colorectal surgeon, Professor Morris, was found guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct for knowingly enabling an overseas based doctor, Dr Sugarbaker, who was not registered under the National Law, to perform surgery on a patient. Professor Morris was involved in organising a colorectal surgery conference in Sydney in 2014....

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Chiropractor convicted of unlawful advertising

A recent case in which a chiropractor was convicted of false advertising for claiming to be able to prevent, treat and cure cancer serves as a reminder for practitioners to make sure they properly understand their obligations and follow the National Boards’ guidelines for advertising. Section 133 of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (National Law) bans advertising that creates an unreasonable expectation of beneficial treatment....

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What is the scope of cancellation of registration when a practitioner is registered in more than one health profession?

The HCCC sought deregistration of the practitioner as both a midwife and as a nurse. It argued that the findings concerning the practitioner's conduct as a midwife were equally applicable to her knowledge and skills in the practice of nursing. The Tribunal noted that the HCCC had referred only to the practitioner's conduct in midwifery in the complaints and had only raised the issue of cancellation ...

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When a doctor can disclose information in the public interest

The revised guidance provides useful clarification on when doctors can disclose information in the public interest to protect individuals or society from risks of serious harm. The benefits to an individual or to society of the disclosure must outweigh both the patient’s and the public interest in keeping the information confidential. For example, if a disclosure would be likely to be necessary ...

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GP ordered to repay $450,000 for inappropriate billing

Dr Nicholas Sevdalis maintained that he made handwritten records which he subsequently transferred to an electronic record. However, the Committee held that the handwritten documents which were tendered in evidence were not contemporaneous and were “recent fabrications”. Dr Sevdalis unsuccessfully appealed the Committee’s decision to the Federal Court, and ultimately appealed to the Full Bench of the Federal Court....

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