One of the most common questions we are asked by our Members is "What should I report?"
Members are aware of the need to report incidents which have the potential to result in a claim for damages (where there is allegation of negligence or a departure from the required standard of care). However, there are also other matters that need to be reported.

Although the incidence of litigated claims has significantly decreased since 2001 following the advent of tort law reform, the number of patient complaints, investigations by Medical Boards, Complaint Commissions, the Coroner and other bodies has exponentially increased.

It is essential that you notify us of the following matters:

  • Any patient complaint, however trivial in nature, because of the potential for it to escalate. If properly managed, most complaints can be resolved at an early stage. Most importantly, relatively few complaints progress to disciplinary action.
  • Receipt of a request for information from the Medical Board or Complaints Commission (eg HCCC/OHR/HSC/HQCC), even if you are not named as a party to the complaint. This is because the Board and Commission have the power to broaden the scope of an investigation, to examine the conduct or treatment provided by other medical practitioners (notwithstanding that the complaint may have originally been made against a hospital or an individual only).
  • A request to provide a statement or report to the Coroner or Police.
    Although the majority of Coronial and Police Investigations do not proceed to hearing, it is important for us to check your response. We can ensure that it accurately reflects your role in the management and treatment of the patient.
  • If you are contacted by Medicare in relation to your billing practices (about the treatment provided to an individual patient, or the use of item numbers for a particular service). We can assist you in responding to a Medicare investigation, which may reduce the likelihood of it proceeding to a hearing or determination.

In summary, you should contact us in relation to:

1.   Adverse outcomes (where no claim has been made)

Adverse outcomes resulting from the diagnosis, management or treatment of a patient, which may have, or may be construed as, having contributed to:

  • unanticipated death;
  • diminished lifespan;
  • any major unanticipated foetal damage;
  • amputation;
  • loss or impairment of one or more of the senses;
  • loss or impairment of any other bodily function;
  • diminished mobility or paralysis; or
  • disfigurement.

2.   Clinical incidents (which are likely to become claims)

Any threat of action or other communication indicating patient dissatisfaction with the services rendered, or the fees charged for services, which may include:

  • a complaint from the patient or a third party representing the patient, about the diagnosis, treatment or management of the patient;
  • a letter from a patient's solicitors seeking a report about an adverse outcome;
  • a patient requesting a copy of their records;
  • a Coronial inquest into the death of a patient in your care; or
  • an anticipated complication arising from services rendered.

3.   Claims (a demand for compensation or monetary damages)

A claim is either:

  • a written or verbal demand for compensation or monetary damages; or
  • a threat of legal action as a result of treatment, or failure to treat.

4.   Other matters

These may include matters arising out of those incidents already listed and include:

  • Disciplinary and Registration matters;
  • Complaints Commissions (eg HCCC/OHR/HSC/HQCC) enquiries;
  • Medical Board enquiries; or
  • Medicare and Professional Services Review matters.