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Qualified privilege legislation to support clinician quality assurance: balancing professional and public interests

Susannah Ahern, Ingrid Hopper and Erwin Loh
Med J Aust 2019; 210 (8): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.50124
Published online: 22 April 2019

A review of the legislation may be warranted to assess the balance between professional and public interests

Patient health‐related datasets are protected by national and state‐based privacy laws which establish requirements for data security that safeguard identified patient information.1,2,3 Nevertheless, these data may potentially be accessed by third parties in accordance with the law — for example, in connection with freedom of information requests or legal proceedings — by statutory bodies such as the Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Agency, or by jurisdictional health complaints commissions. Patient information from health service medical records is regularly used in medico‐legal proceedings, a recent significant example of which was the Bawa‐Garba case in the United Kingdom,4 discussed below.

  • Susannah Ahern
  • Ingrid Hopper
  • Erwin Loh

  • Monash University, Melbourne, VIC

Correspondence: susannah.ahern@monash.edu

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

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