When a patient has other doctors: three things you can do to ensure continuity of care
In this podcast episode, we join Professor Anne Duggan and Dr Liz Marles from the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, and Dr Kiely Kim from MDA National to discuss how doctors can maintain good continuity of care for their patients in an increasingly complex health system. Listen now>
Think you know the Doctor's Code of Conduct?
The Medical Board of Australia’s Good Medical Practice: A Code of Conduct for Doctors in Australia sets the standard for the profession. Test your knowledge with a few common ethical questions doctors face. Read more>
Telehealth - the patient's perspective
When the Federal Government made telehealth universally available as a safety measure during the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, it was life-changing for many people. Read more>
Are you guilty of making these errors when giving vaccines?
A number of errors can occur when preparing and giving a vaccination. Make sure you know how to avoid common pitfalls and what to do if an error does occur. Read more>
Iron infusions - 5 things you can do to avoid a complaint
An increasingly popular method of treating general practice patients with iron deficiency involves intravenous iron infusions with Ferinject ®. However, an uncommon but known complication from iron infusion treatment is permanent skin staining as a result of perivenous leakage from the intravenous administration site. Read more>
Stay between 2 and 8 to (safely) vaccinate
Flu season reminds us that vaccination storage is an important issue in general practice. Vaccines are delicate biological products: if we don’t protect them, they don’t protect our community. Is your practice meeting the national standards? Read more>
Cryotherapy: Are you getting it right?
Cryotherapy is often used in general practice, skin cancer medicine and dermatology to treat a number of common skin lesions. It is an established and inexpensive treatment and one of the most commonly used MBS items in general practice in Australia. However, if the procedure is conducted incorrectly, it can cause additional pain and scarring.
Risks associated with Postnatal Depression can be unpredictable and difficult to assess.
A woman is at the highest risk of PND during her pregnancy and in the first two postnatal years after giving birth. Read more
Family violence: Can you spot it?
It has been estimated that a GP may see as many as five women a week who present with symptoms of violence in the home. Yet the GP is unaware of the violence. Read more
Psychological safety: How a healthy workplace can improve patient care
Workplace psychological safety has important implications across health services and patient care. Recent studies even show a consistent association between workplace culture and patient outcomes in a variety of health settings. Here's what you need to know.
When should I include an interpreter in a consult?
If you're ever unsure whether your patient understands enough English, it's best to engage an interpreter – especially if you are discussing complex matters or require informed consent. An interpreter can help you bridge the barriers of language and culture and allow the patient to participate in shared decision making about their care.
Exploring what matters most to your patients is crucial to reducing the incidence of complaints. Implementing shared decision-making (SDM) is essential to enabling a patient’s preferences to be incorporated into a consultation – improving patient knowledge, risk perception, accuracy, and patient–clinician communication.
For GPs involved in antenatal shared care (ANSC) arrangements, maintaining continuity of care and recognising when to escalate abnormal results can mean the difference between a good or poor outcome for your patient. The Medical Council has identified some recurring themes in ANSC complaints that have resulted in poor outcomes for women and their babies.
Does being grumpy with patients carry serious medico-legal risk?
Complaints related to practitioner behaviours usually include issues around communication, attitude and manner – but do these factors really make a difference in the quality of care a patient receives? Data analysis by Avant shows why these complaints are now being taken seriously as indicators of risks to patient safety.
Recalls and reminders: do you know your obligations?
Patient recalls and reminders are essential to the continuity of care, health maintenance and patient safety. Tips to ensure your recalls and reminders are on point.
Does your diagnosis get lost in translation?
Hints and tips on communicating with patients from a non-English speaking background or who may have low health literacy.
Informed consent: make it meaningful
In this article, we discuss how to avoid this risk of complaint and ways to improve communication with a patient so that their consent is voluntary, active and informed.
Circumstances change, good practice stays the same
Coronavirus has affected nearly every aspect of our lives, including patient consultations, but the basics of quality general practice remain, Associate Professor Charlotte Hespe writes.
Is poor peer communication putting your patient at risk?
Good two-way communication is an essential element in successful doctor-patient relationships. But a communication breakdown between treating GPs can result in poor patient care and missed diagnosis. Read more>
Groundbreaking staff culture program supports patient outcomes
Recent academic research demonstrates there is a correlation between disrespectful behaviour by practitioners within medical teams and poorer patient outcomes. We talk to Dr Sarah Michael, a psychiatrist at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, about the Ethos Program which aims to encourage respectful behavior between colleagues to support better patient outcomes. Read more>
What it means to say 'sorry'
Sometimes, things go wrong. How you react to a patient's distress may be the tipping point as to whether or not they lodge a formal complaint which could lead to a stressful investigation by medical regulators. However, many doctors fear that saying "sorry" could be an admission of liability which could later be used against them. Read more.
Ending a therapeutic relationship...is it the answer?
Sometimes, it’s necessary for a doctor to stop seeing a patient, or a patient may not want to see you. What do you do when faced with a patient who repeatedly doesn’t turn up for appointments, or becomes abusive or aggressive towards you? Dr Walid Jammal and Dr Rosa Canalese reveal their top tips. Read more.
Avoid the risk: be open when you make a mistake
The Medical Council spoke to Dr Rosa Canalese, senior medical adviser at Avant and a Central Coast GP about communication strategies with patients when there’s been a mistake in clinical practice. Read more
Complaints, Clinical Care, Communication and More: Take-away messages from the Annual Report
In the 2018/19 financial year, the Medical Council received 2,518 complaints about 2,051 doctors – just under 7% of registered medical practitioners in NSW. Read more
Hot button issues
Each year, the Medical Council considers about 2300 complaints and notifications about medical practitioners in NSW. While complaints cover a wide range of issues, there are a few subjects that come up frequently. These resources may help you avoid a complaint in these areas: Read more
Who me? Retire? How to plan, transition and adapt
Have you ever thought about what your transition to retirement might look like? Will you cut all ties at once or slowly step back and focus on another passion such as research or teaching? Or have you made no firm plans at all?
Burnout: Are you at risk and what can you do about it?
In our newest podcast episode, we speak with special guests Professor Leanne Rowe and Dr Peter Baldwin about the unique factors that can place doctors at risk of poor mental health and burnout. They offer valuable insights and practical guidance on how to handle the pressures of our roles. Listen now
Supporting the Medical Benevolent Association of NSW to help doctors in need
Over the last 10 years, the Medical Council has supported the work of the Medical Benevolent Association of NSW by contributing $500 000 to provide counselling support of doctors and medical students who have had a complaint or subject to regulatory action by the Council. Read more
Support for your wellbeing
The Doctor's Health Advisory Service (DHAS) provides a confidential phone back support service for doctors with the aim of ensuring every doctor in NSW has access to healthcare. Watch now
Why do I need a doctor when I am one?
Medical literature frequently highlights the proven benefits of having your own doctor. But do doctors heed this advice? We speak with Dr Liz Campbell about why having a GP is worthwhile and what makes doctors unique patients. Read more
Healthier doctors = healthier patients
The Medical Council speaks with Dr Leanne Rowe about the mental health pressures doctors face, the barriers that can stop colleagues from getting help and some practical steps for better self-care. Read more>
Doctors must reach out to colleagues suffering in silence
It's time doctors and medical students trying to cope with mental health issues can feel comfortable and supported in seeking treatment. Read more
Helping the healers: Doctors' Health Advisory Service
An independent and confidential service where doctors can seek support and advice.Read more
COVID-19 vaccination exemptions: what are the criteria?
Having a good understanding of these criteria – and being prepared for some difficult patient consults – is the key to successfully managing this challenge. Read more.
Medical records: are you doing the right thing for your patients?
Medical records are often at the heart of complaints to the NSW Medical Council. This podcast examines the importance of good record-keeping in ensuring quality patient care and what medical notes should include with examples of poor and good practice. Listen now
Leaving medicine? What you need to know about patient records before you do
The decision to leave medicine is never easy but doctors who retire, sell their practice or are suspended still have record-keeping obligations under legislation and best-practice guidelines. Read more
Why are systems struggles impacting doctors and their aged care patients?
The accuracy of medical records is pertinent when dealing with vulnerable patients, such as those in aged care. So why then are medication charts not matching GP records more than 95% of the time? What can be done to minimise risk to patients? Read more
Recording of consults is complex - GPs should proceed with caution
The question of whether or not you can or should record conversations during consults arises fairly frequently. Whether or not this is permissible is a complex question as every state has slightly different legislation about what is allowed, depending on the circumstances. Read more
Clinical images: don't let diagnostic snaps be your downfall
Asking for advice on a diagnostic photo is as simple as snap, click, send. But what is the purpose of taking the photo? Did you seek the patient’s permission? How can you maintain confidentiality once you hit send? Read more see how to avoid breaching patient privacy.
Patient safety depends on timely, quality clinical handovers
Communication between hospitals and GPs can have an enormous impact on the health outcomes of patients and it all starts with the humble discharge summary. Read more
Medicines and prescribing
SafeScript NSW: real-time medication tracking coming your way
Safescript NSW is a new tool which gives doctors and pharmacists real-time data about their patient’s prescribing and dispensing history for monitored medicines and helps them make more informed and safer prescribing decisions.
Do you know the three Ws of compound medicine?
There are key reasons, including patient safety, to understand who is making the compound medicine, where (and in what conditions) is it being made and what exactly is in the compound medicine.
Prescribing opioids and drugs of addiction - rules and requirements (part two)
A two-part podcast series - in part two we hear from Dr Simon Cowap, GP, educator and Medical Council hearing member and assessor. How should general practitioners respond to doctor shoppers and better manage patient expectations when itc comes to opioids? Listen now
Prescribing opioids and drugs of addiction - rules and requirements (part one)
A two-part podcast series - part one contains vital information for NSW doctors, as we discuss the regulation of prescribing of opioids and drugs of addiction as it applies to NSW based medical practitioners. What are the rules? We hear from Dr Brian Morton a GP and NSW Medical Council member, and Mr Bruce Battye, Director of the NSW Pharmaceutical Regulatory Unit (Ministry of Health). Listen now
Prescribing drugs of addiction - the knowledge gap
The law in NSW requires doctors who prescribe or supply a drug of addiction to obtain an Authority to Prescribe from the NSW Ministry of Health. Read more
Doctors overprescribing opioids
Australians are two-and-a-half times more likely to die from an overdose of an opioid prescribed by a doctor, or stolen from a hospital, than from street drugs. Read more
Interview with Bruce Battye Pharmaceutical Regulatory Unit
The Director of the NSW Pharmaceutical Regulatory Unit, Bruce Battye discusses what his unit does and key prescribing issues doctors need to be aware of. Read more
Have you had prescriptions lost or stolen? Why you need to report
Tips on how to avoid having scripts forged or stolen, and what you need to do if they are. Read more.
Regulation of doctors
Who's who in medical regulation?
Who is the HCCC, Medical Council of NSW and Ahpra and how does the regulatory system differ in NSW compared to the rest of Australia. In this episode, we break down the roles of each of the regulators in NSW, how they work together, how the system differs from the rest of Australia, and a bit about the complaints process. Features podcast host Dr Martine Walker and special guests, Dr John Sammut, President, Medical Council of NSW, Tony Kofkin, Complaint Operations, Healthcare Complaints Commission (HCCC) and Kym Ayscough, Executive Director, Regulatory Operations, Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra). Listen now
If the Medical Council calls, will I end up suspended?
We explore a more common practitioner interaction with the Council – a Performance Assessment – what is it, how is it established and why are they held? Read more