Court rules registration conditions not secret
AHPRA has failed in a bid to keep documents about conditions on a plastic surgeon’s registration secret, after a court ruled a woman dissatisfied with her breast augmentation needed the information for a possible negligence claim.
The woman, Lisa Bain, went to the NSW District Court seeking an order that AHPRA and the surgeon, Dr Jayne Bambit, release documents outlining 18 undertakings she was required to make following an unsatisfactory professional conduct finding by the former Queensland regulator – since merged into AHPRA.
Some of Dr Bambit’s undertakings related to certain breast augmentation procedures and risk disclosure.
Ms Bain argued the undertakings, which applied from 2007 to 2010, coincided with her 2009 procedure, which also included an upper eyelift.
AHPRA lawyers had “considered that these documents were exempt from production on an FOI request because they contained personal information and because the disclosure of that information was considered to be unreasonable in the circumstances”, Judge Leonard Levy said last week.
However, Judge Levy said, “there is a low threshold for establishing relevance of the requested material… because the request for the production of the documents is… for the purpose of providing proper advice to the plaintiff on whether or not to commence proceedings against her former surgeon”.
The judge said AHPRA, which had not strongly opposed Ms Bain’s order, had complied with the court’s wishes and he awarded costs against the surgeon only.
An AHPRA spokesperson said the authority “respects the decision of the court”, however medico-legal experts said as the national regulatory body AHPRA needed to be clearer on which documents could be made public.
“AHPRA doesn’t seem to know how to handle these public disclosures of conditions being placed on registration, and the public’s access to those conditions,” MIPS medico-legal adviser Dr Rob Walters said.
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