National Health Law Bulletin

03 August 2018

We are delighted to welcome you to the HWL Ebsworth Health Law Bulletin.

The health law practice of HWL Ebsworth is one of the premier legal service providers to the Australian health industry, dedicated to assisting clients with all aspects of their legal needs. Within the national practice group we have a team of partners and lawyers who have market-leading expertise in all aspects of health law and policy including assisting health practitioners and public and private health facilities in civil claims, disciplinary proceedings and coronial inquests and providing advice on regulatory and compliance issues such as clinical governance, privacy, Medicare and ethics. Our team also has extensive experience with advising on clinical protocols, medical practice management and industrial relations as well as providing corporate and commercial advice to health industry participants.

As part of our focus on the health industry, our bulletin addresses a range of topics designed to provide you with an insight into legal and other developments across the nation.

Medico Legal Risks & My Health Record

By the end of 2018 every Australian will have a My Health Record unless they choose to opt out. The three-month opt out period will commence on 16 July 2018 and end on 15 October 2018. It will still be possible to opt out after this period although a My Health Record will have been created.

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Secondary use of My Health Record data: Is opt out appropriate?

In May 2018 the Commonwealth Government released the Framework to guide the secondary use of My Health Record system data. My Health Record data will be released with the approval of a Data Governance Board following an application for access to the data. Any application can be made by any Australian organisation except for an insurance agency.

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Unregulated health services and foreshadowed Victorian Government Reform – Effective 1 July 2018

The Victorian government has introduced amendments to the Health Services Act 1988 (VIC) and related regulation following a state-wide review of potentially avoidable newborn and still born deaths at Djerriwarrh Health Services in 2001-2002. The amendments broaden the range of premises caught by regulation and give authorities more power to take action for non compliance as well as introducing stricter registration, reporting, credentialing and governance requirements.

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Getting real (time) about prescription monitoring

Following a joint inquest involving four deaths involving prescription opioids and so-called doctor shopping, a Coroner has recommended that Queensland Health urgently consider and determine how a real-time prescription monitoring system could be implemented in Queensland.

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Obstetrics – an expensive minefield of duties, risks and breaches

ACT Supreme Court awards almost $900,000 to the distraught parents of a stillborn infant. ACT Supreme Court Justice Burns found both defendants liable, and apportioned damages according to their respective culpability.

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Wrongful birth claims & recovery of damages for the consequential costs of raising a child – the position in Western Australia

Where the birth of a child is caused by medical negligence, are the parents of the child entitled to damages for the ordinary costs of raising the child, or are the recoverable damages limited to the costs associated with the child’s disability?

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Findings of the Inquest into the Death of Claudia La Bella

On 23 May 2018, the State Coroner of South Australia handed down his findings following an Inquest into the death of Ms Claudia La Bella, aged 28 years, who died on 29 June 2014 as a result of aspiration of gastric contents complicating laxative abuse. HWL Ebsworth were instructed in the Inquest.

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Clozapine and Coroners

Clozapine is often considered as the gold standard of care for patients with treatment refractory schizophrenia but it has a concerning side effect profile, including death.

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