When you go to the doctor, who gets to use the toilet?
Posted January 04, 2019 08:49:54When you go into the doctor and they ask you for your medical history, what does that tell you?
In NSW, that information is confidential and under the state’s health and safety law, doctors can’t ask for it.
But the State Government has a policy that allows doctors to ask for this information.
And it appears to be working.
This week, the State Parliament passed the Health and Safety Legislation Amendment (Physicians and Health Professionals) Bill, which allows doctors, nurses and midwives to ask their patients to give a blood sample and urine sample.
The bill has been introduced to the State Assembly and will be discussed by the Joint Standing Committee on Health and Disability on Wednesday.
If passed, it would extend the current privacy and confidentiality rules to the whole health and medical system.
“The legislation does not provide any new privacy protections for doctors and the privacy of patients,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.
“It will only be for doctors to obtain that information and make that request.”
The bill does not include the right for doctors or nurses to ask a person to make a blood test.
But a spokesperson for the NSW Department of Health said it does not have any current plans to change that.
“We have no plans to alter the Privacy Act, which applies to health and personal data in NSW,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said that in cases where a patient’s privacy is not protected, it was up to the individual to provide consent.
“If a person chooses not to provide their consent, the NSW Health Protection Authority (HPPA) will handle that situation,” she said.
But that is not always possible, particularly in the event of a medical emergency.
In March, a 19-year-old man from Warrnambool died after being taken to a local hospital with a suspected stroke.
A post-mortem examination revealed that the stroke was caused by a blood clot in his brain.
The GP and nurse who treated him refused to let the man go, despite the fact he had no symptoms.
After that, the GP asked a colleague to make an appointment for him.
The GP went to the hospital’s emergency department and the nurse took a urine sample to be tested for the clot.
But as the patient waited for the results, the nurse gave the patient a urine test.
The doctor then told the GP he could not give him a urine specimen because the man had died.
The following week, police charged the GP, the nurses and the GP’s colleague with manslaughter.
The woman and the doctor who made the urine test were all fined $150.
At the time, the Government said it was considering making it a crime to lie to a person who was dying.
Health Minister Fiona Nash said it would be up to doctors to decide whether that was an acceptable use of that privilege.
“Doctors have a legal obligation to do everything possible to protect and promote the privacy and safety of patients, particularly when it comes to a health emergency,” she told the ABC.
“This Bill has a provision in it that allows the police to be able to question a person when they have a lawful request for a sample of blood.”
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