Representation for Health Professionals

Gilshenan & Luton has a lengthy history in health law. We have extensive experience in acting for health practitioners (including doctors, nurses, dentists and allied health professionals) in criminal, disciplinary and employment-related matters. We have also represented numerous health practitioner registration boards and the Office of the Health Ombudsman, in the prosecution of disciplinary matters.

Criminal charges and your reporting obligations

Did you know, as a registered health practitioner, if you are merely charged with a criminal offence, you will usually be required to notify the Australian Health Practitioners Regulatory Authority (AHPRA) of the charge within seven days?

If you fail to provide the necessary notification you may be liable to disciplinary action by the Office of the Health Ombudsman (OHO).

We can assist practitioners with:

  1. representation for the entire criminal process;
  2. making the necessary notifications to AHPRA;
  3. responding to any proposed immediate action by the OHO, such as the imposition of conditions on your medical registration;
  4. attending interviews; and
  5. appearing in any matters before the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Professional misconduct

Our experience on both sides of disciplinary proceedings for health professionals puts us in a unique position to offer our clients real insight into the process.

In addition to any disciplinary proceedings brought by the regulator, medical practitioners may also find themselves liable to disciplinary investigations/charges as part of their employment; for example, by a Hospital Health Service.

We regularly help clients respond to show cause notices and decisions about suspension (with or without pay).

Coronial inquests

Coronial inquests are matters in which our office regularly appears. It is a specialised jurisdiction with an inquisitorial approach that allows the Coroner to actively participate in the proceedings in ways that would not be permitted in other courts.

For health professionals, inquests and coronial investigations often arise in circumstances where family members are unaware of, or concerned about, the circumstances of the death of a loved one whilst the person was under care or treatment in a health care facility. 

The dissatisfaction may result in the Coroner opening an investigation or the family making an application for an inquest.

As a medical professional you may be asked to provide a coronial statement in relation to the death of a patient. This may lead to you having to give evidence at an inquest.  

There are occasions where a Coroner may criticise a medical practitioner and refer them for disciplinary proceedings or refer them to the DPP for the consideration of criminal charges.  It is vital that legal assistance is sought in advance of any statement or appearance in coronial matters, to minimise the risk of disciplinary or criminal proceedings being brought against you.

If you are subpoenaed to give evidence before a Coroner or asked to participate in an interview for a coronial investigation, you should contact our office as soon as possible.