How the law impacts on cancer care and the responsibilities of cancer clinicians

Monday 23 May, 2016

On the 18th of May the Clinical Network in collaboration with the McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer hosted a law and cancer event at the Telestra Centre, Melbourne. 

A range of legal frameworks impact on the delivery of cancer care in Victoria, including regulation of health professionals, consent laws, and end-of-life law. We know anecdotally that there is a lot of ambiguity in relation to how the law intersects with our treatment of cancer patients and the rights and responsibilities of clinicians and patients. 

panel discussion

These complexities were discussed through a lively multi-disciplinary panel consisting of professionals from the oncology and legal sectors. The panel members were presented with two case studies that illustrated the different ways in which the law impacts on cancer care and experiences and outcomes for cancer patients, their carers and health professionals. They were asked to give their thoughts on how these situations are managed in practice and how the rights of the patients and the law applies

The evening's discussion offered some interesting insights and clarity on the law, patients' rights and clinician's responsibilities in relation to legal frameworks. Discussion included complexities relating to consent, access to care, medical negligence, end-of-life decision making and treatment compliance, incorporating considerations relating to regional patients and those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Dr Deborah Lawson, Legal Policy Advisor, McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer, Cancer Council Victoria also provided an update on the Health Complaints Act 2016

The panel consisted of:

A/Prof Kate Drummond, Neurosurgeon, Royal Melbourne Hospital
Dr Christopher Steer, Medical Oncologist Border Medical Oncology (Albury/Wodonga)
Dr Barbara Hayes, Palliative Care Physician and Advance Care Planning Program Clinical Leader, Northern Health 
Mr Neil Murdoch, QC, Melbourne
Mr Phil Grano, OAM, Office of the Public Advocate

Bill O'Shea is General Counsel, Arts Centre Melbourne facilitated the event