19 April, 2022

URGENT: NSW Government seeks feedback on draft Code of conduct for non-registered health practitioners

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ATTENTION NSW HEALTH PRACTITIONERS: The NSW Government released a consultation to revise the ‘Codes of conduct for non-registered health practitioners and certain health organisations‘.

NSW Health seeks public feedback on the draft Code of Conduct to ensure it is appropriate for the relevant health organisations. The Code will be included in the updated Public Health Regulation which operates under the Public Health Act 2010. An Impact Assessment Statement details the principles in the draft Code of Conduct.

Submissions due COB Friday 22 April 2022:

Submissions are due by 22 April 2022 (this Friday), which can be sent via the following link:

Of concern, businesses and other stakeholder organisations that will be affected have NOT been consulted or informed. Unfortunately, this is typical of the ‘tick & flick’ approach adopted by non-elected bureaucrats that follow in-house agendas, in the absence of meaningful engagement with those most impacted by their actions.

If this impacts you, please send in a submission – no matter how brief. Your feedback counts and can make a difference, even if it serves to open dialogue between bureaucrats and stakeholders impacted by the reforms.

Possible issues to consider (amongst others):

Since most stakeholders have only just found out about the existence of this consultation, its full implications are still unclear. Those affected are encouraged to read the draft documents provided by NSW Health. Some initial thoughts are as follows:

It is unclear whether the draft Code sufficiently differentiates between a complaint about a practitioner over malpractice versus a civil complaint. Without clarity, this creates a grey-area that could be open to abuse by vexatious complainants (such as skeptics).

The new draft Code now includes ‘certain health organisations’. This raises a number of ambiguities and concerns. Page 1 of the NSW Consultation document defines a ‘health organisation’ as:

“A relevant health organisation means a person, including an individual or a corporation, that provides a health service, other than a health practitioner, and does not include a public health organisation, public hospital or private health facility.”

This opens the door for complaints to be made to the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) about a health clinic or business that employs a practitioner/ contracted by the clinic/ business engaged in alleged malpractice.

This would make the business responsible for the actions of a contracted/ salaried practitioner, even if the business has done nothing wrong. This has obvious implications for businesses.

Should businesses/ clinics be held responsible for malpractice by a practitioner? This would have significant impacts throughout the industry.

Your submission could also include a complaint that NSW Health has not sufficiently notified or prior consulted key stakeholders impacted by the revised draft Code.

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