Health practitioners, including doctors, dentists, pharmacists, nurses and allied health professionals have unique legal requirements including:
- disciplinary issues with the Office of the Health Ombudsman;
- registration and complaint issues with APHRA;
- Professional Service Review processes under Part VAA of the Health Insurance Act 1973 (HIA) for Medicare benefits, dental benefits and benefits paid under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS);
- notifying AHPRA if charged with a criminal offence;
- responding to disciplinary investigations as part of their employment, for example by a Hospital Health Service;
- requests to give evidence in coronial inquests.
Health practitioners may also require assistance in matters such as:
- review of the fine print of an employment offer or contractor agreement, particularly for:
- post-agreement restraints that may curtail the professional activities the professional can undertake after the agreement has ended;
- calculation of remuneration and the contribution to expenses as a component of the calculation;
- dealing with disciplinary allegations in the workplace;
- workplace harassment or unlawful discrimination;
- compliance with modern awards and other workplace law.
Health practitioners need to fully understand their rights and obligations before responding to their employer or an investigating authority. A health practitioner needs to know:
- Is there an obligation to cooperate?
- If so, how far does the obligation extend?
- When is representation is permitted and what can a representative do to protect the health professional’s interests?
An unguarded statement by a health professional may be later relied upon in decisions to commence a prosecution or other action against a health professional. It is essential to take advice before making a statement to minimise the risk of further action being taken.
Click here for case studies and more information about assistance for health care workers.
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