Legal retrograde step

Public hospital reporting of adverse events will take a dive under new incident reporting rules. Advanced Incident Management Systems (AIMS) in WA will no longer be protected by qualified privilege under Commonwealth legislation. This appears to be a side effect of nationalisation, as WA has prided itself on no-blame, legally privileged reporting of incidents that allowed full disclosure of circumstances around an adverse event, and a systems approach to putting it right. Doctors are now being told to consult with their MDO before filling anything out. The irony is that the biggest impediment to admitting fault in any quarter is that everyone now seems to have a lawyer in their back pocket.





Genes revisited

Did you know? October 2009 amendments to the Privacy Act allow a doctor to breach confidentiality and disclose a patient’s genetic information, without the patient’s consent, where there is reasonable belief that disclosure is necessary to lessen or prevent a serious threat to life, health or safety of his or her genetic relatives. This is set to become more of a grey area as more gene discoveries show linkage to behavioural or mental conditions.



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