Last updated 5 December 2016. This chapter is now under review.

pdf_downloadConsent to Medical Treatment
Absence of Capacity to Consent to Medical Treatment
Advanced Health Directive
Protecting Confidential Patient Information
Privacy in the Health Care System
Access to Medical Records
Medical Negligence
Health Product Regulation and Safety

Providing medical treatment to a person is a visible aspect of health care. There are a wide range of laws that may apply in relation to that treatment. An operation, for example, can only be performed with the consent of the patient, and the responsible surgeon is legally required to provide sufficient information to the patient in order for any consent provided to be valid. Further, the patient consenting must have the capacity to do so.

Any personal information collected about a patient during contact with the health practitioner must be treated in accordance with the relevant privacy laws and must not be used or disclosed in a way that is inconsistent with those laws. If the patient experiences complications during or after the surgery, they may wish to access their medical records if the explanation provided by the health practitioner or the hospital of admission is not satisfactory. The patient may wish to complain about the treatment they received or the conduct of the health practitioner, or bring other legal action against the practitioner.

The law surrounding medical treatment is very complex and expert legal advice is recommended.