NSW Bill to Amend Provisions Relating to Healthcare Practitioners

Thursday 17 May 2018 @ 1.43 p.m. | Legal Research

The NSW Government has introduced the Health Legislation Amendment Bill (No 2) 2018 (NSW) (‘the Bill’) on 16 May 2018. The Bill is currently in the Legislative Council. This Bill is for the purpose of making amendments to various Acts related to health and associated matters, particularly focusing on standards for cosmetic procedures and goods, and disqualification of practitioners.

Main Amendments

The Bill proposes to make the following amendments:

  • Amendment of the Health Care Complaints Act 1993 (NSW) to require that information about a person whose registration as a health practitioner has been cancelled to be made publicly available;
  • Amendment of the Health Practitioner Regulation (Adoption of National Law) Act 2009 (NSW) with respect to matters such as reviews and appeals, powers for authorised persons;
  • Amendment of the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1966 (NSW) to impose requirements in respect of certain substances and goods for cosmetic purposes;
  • Amendment of the Private Health Facilities Act 2007 (NSW) to create an offence of performing certain procedures at private health facilities, and also to allow authorised officers to require a person to answer questions or provide information;
  • Amendment of the Public Health Act 2010 (NSW) to permit the Chief Health Officer to make public a statement identifying and giving warnings or information about a risk to health or safety, to exclude compensation for defamation for statements under under the Act and to clarify meanings related to ‘de-registered health practitioner’.

In her second reading speech on behalf of Minister for Resources, Minister for Energy and Utilities, and Minister for the Arts Don Harwin, Bronnie Taylor stated: ‘The amendments in the bill follow both the recent review by the Ministry of Health into the regulation of cosmetic procedures and its regular review of legislation to ensure that it remains up to date and fit for purpose.’ She noted that the amendments were directed towards potential harm caused by cosmetic procedures:

‘In 2017 a woman tragically died following a cosmetic procedure in Sydney. Following her death, the Minister for Health, the Hon. Brad Hazzard, directed the ministry to undertake a review of the regulation of cosmetic procedures. The review highlighted issues regarding medicines used in cosmetic procedures, and recommended that a tailored legal framework be developed for these medicines. Medicines commonly used in cosmetic procedures are regulated as "prescription only" substances, meaning that they must be prescribed by a medical practitioner or other legally authorised person. In addition, the prescriber should be satisfied that the person administering the medicines is competent to do so. The ministry's review uncovered concerns about the adequacy of the qualifications and supervision of persons administering these medicines in some cosmetics clinics. Another area of concern is imported products not approved for use in Australia, and of unknown quality, safety and efficacy being used in some cosmetic clinics.’

On the issue of deregistered and disqualified health practitioners, Ms Taylor noted:

‘Under the Public Health Act, deregistered health practitioners must notify their patients that they have been deregistered before providing health services unconnected to their former registration. However, there is no requirement for disqualified practitioners to notify patients of their disqualification. Deregistered and disqualified practitioners have both been found unfit to be registered health practitioners and should be treated the same way. The bill therefore amends the Health Care Complaints Act and the Public Health Act to ensure that disqualified practitioners are treated the same as deregistered practitioners.’ 

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Health Legislation Amendment Bill (No 2) 2018 (NSW), explanatory notes and second reading speech, as published on TimeBase LawOne.

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