Avant Insurance

Connect Magazine Issue 9 - Communication

Issue link: http://connect.avant.org.au/i/912796

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Page 22 of 27

Take your practice to the next level with PracticeHub Avant's new technology platform to make running a successful practice simpler, safer and more efficient. • stay alert to significant changes in legislation impacting your practice • communicate required changes to staff • define staff responsibilities and monitor compliance • train and develop staff • prevent key tasks falling through the cracks PracticeHub is an online practice management platform that enables you to: Book a demonstration at practicehub.com.au Contact us: 1300 96 86 36 info@practicehub.com.au Patient reports threatening behaviour Mr Barnes * had been treated for mental health conditions at a clinic where Dr Adams * , a psychiatrist, worked. Although Dr Adams had not treated Mr Barnes, she had been consulted by colleagues for advice on his care. Mr Barnes' former wife, Ms Lee * , had been a long-standing patient of Dr Adams. Her ex-husband's behaviour had escalated to the point where she voiced her fears to Dr Adams about his increasingly threatening behaviour. Dr Adams believed that Ms Lee's health and safety was under serious threat and wrote a letter for her to give to the police, which mentioned Mr Barnes psychiatric health. Subsequently, Mr Barnes complained that the clinic had breached his privacy. The tribunal found the patient's privacy had been breached in the letter to the police. The information was hearsay and Dr Adams had no direct knowledge of Mr Barnes or his behaviour. The tribunal was not satisfied that Dr Adams' belief that the disclosure of Mr Barnes' information was necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to Ms Lee, was reasonable. The clinic was found to have breached Mr Barnes' privacy and ordered to apologise to him. Key lessons If the patient's consent hasn't been received, information should only be provided to the police: • when a warrant or subpoena is provided or, • it is authorised by a specific legislation provision (e.g. mandatory reporting of child abuse), or there is a reasonable belief that there is a serious threat to the life, health or safety of the patient/ and or public. The information relied upon must be accurate, with extra caution taken where the belief is based on hearsay.

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