Nothing is more distressing for a health practitioner than having a complaint made against them to AHPRA or a health regulator. The consequences could have serious ramifications to your career.
If you are the subject of a complaint or have any issues with your registration, you need to feel confident that the lawyer representing you understands not just the intricacy of your profession, but also the real impact these complaints or registration processes can have on you personally.
Complaints to AHPRA may not only affect your registration, they invariably coincide with employer action. In certain circumstances, they can also result in criminal investigation. It is vital to seek advice as soon as possible to ensure your interests are protected to avoid adverse outcomes which might impact your career.
With extensive experience in health law, health disciplinary law and employment law, Hall Payne Lawyers are experienced in meeting the complex needs of health practitioners. HPL acts for hundreds of health practitioners every year - from notifications to AHPRA, registration or renewal issues, and defending health practitioners against charges of professional misconduct in Courts and Tribunals. Our team has had unparalleled success in this area of law.
Our team is known for its expertise in acting for health practitioners and navigating the complex and diverse issues you face. We can provide advice and assistance across all matters including:
We know that there is nothing more stressful for a health professional than having a complaint made to their registration body about their performance, conduct, or health. When this occurs, you need expert advice to navigate through what can be an intimidating and confusing system.
The ramifications of a complaint can be significant and severely affect your career, particularly when facing potential restrictions on your rights to practice. In the worst case, you could have your registration cancelled and lose your profession.
Hall Payne Lawyers has one of Australia's largest professional conduct and discipline practices in Australia, representing hundreds of health practitioner clients each year who are subject to notification or complaints.
We have acted for a wide range of health practitioners including:
Doctors (general practitioners and specialists);
We are experts in managing health practitioner disciplinary matters with:
the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA);
the various associated Health Practitioner Boards;
HCCC in New South Wales; and
the Office of the Health Ombudsman (OHO) in Queensland.
Our experienced team has achieved excellent results for health practitioners, consequently allowing them to maintain their employment and continue to practice in their chosen profession.
Hall Payne undertakes the full range of health disciplinary and regulatory matters including:
assisting with registration concerns such as the English Language standard, recency of practice, regaining practicing registration, professional indemnity insurance, disclosure of criminal offences and associated submissions;
management of and preparing submissions in response to the notification about your health, conduct, and performance;
attending regulator mandated interviews and panel hearings as your legal representative;
appearing before disciplinary tribunals representing people accused of engaging in professional misconduct.
In addition to these types of cases, we also provide management of crossover matters. This includes investigations associated with criminal charges and employment action by your employer, arising from the circumstances surrounding your health disciplinary matter.
Almost every health practitioner will be involved in a coronial inquiry at some stage during their career.
Coronial inquests investigate unexpected deaths or reportable deaths, which include healthcare-related deaths. Adverse findings at a coronial inquest can have significant implications for a health practitioner, including referral to the AHPRA/OHO/HCCC, or to the Director of Public Prosecutions for criminal charges in the most serious matters where criminal negligence is suspected.
It is vital that health practitioners seek legal assistance before providing a statement to the coroner, counsel assisting the coroner, or the police.
Hall Payne is experienced in assisting health practitioners with all aspects of the coronial process. This includes:
negotiations with the coroner’s office to provide statements;
drafting any detailed statements required;
the broader coronial investigation;
assessing claims for privilege against self-incrimination; and
guiding the practitioner through the coronial inquest itself.
Our experience in representing health practitioners means our employment team understands the intricacies of working in a clinical or health workplace. This provides our health practitioner clients with the level of expertise required to navigate through the sometimes-complex interplay of employment and health legislation that governs the working conditions of many health practitioners.
Often health practitioners are involved in workplace/health service investigations into their conduct and performance which do not fall neatly within the scope of an employment matter.
This includes investigations into broader health services provided by a hospital or other healthcare organisations.
If you are the subject of a workplace investigation into your practice, the best thing you can do is obtain early legal advice. While making a statement will allow your side of any story to be heard, you should not make a statement to any appointed investigator without first obtaining legal advice.
Hall Payne has extensive experience in assisting health practitioners with these types of investigations. If there are complaints about a health service your employer is entitled, and most likely obliged, to conduct an investigation. However, they must do so in a way that follows the proper process and is respectful of a health practitioners’ rights at work and principles of natural justice. Legal advice will ensure your interests are properly protected, your rights are respected, and that you get a fair hearing.
We have acted on behalf of hundreds of health professionals facing potential disciplinary action. Hall Payne has a strong record of achieving excellent outcomes in Courts and Tribunals in professional misconduct cases. Below is a list of some of our key cases which demonstrate the breadth and depth of our experience and expertise in this area of law.
Despite a health practitioner’s best efforts, sometimes conditions may still be imposed upon their registration by a Health Practitioner National Board via AHPRA or the Office of the Health Ombudsman in Queensland.
For health practitioners, facing the prospect of having immediate action taken against their professional registration can be one of the most stressful times in a health practitioner’s professional career, and it can be difficult for health practitioners to determine who to turn to for assistance.
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency is aware that vexatious notifications are made against health practitioners from time to time. To help identify and manage vexatious complaints, AHPRA has developed a framework for use by staff and regulatory decision-makers.
We recently represented a nurse who has been allowed to keep her registration despite the QCAT finding she engaged in professional misconduct by commencing and continuing a romantic relationship with a patient that she was treating.