When Patients Refuse Treatment

As Medical Indemnity Insurance Providers, the experts at Tego are well aware of the many issues GP’s face. This includes patients refusing more testing under advice from the doctor.

Let’s be clear, a competent patient is within their rights to refuse treatment. It is however important that you have fully informed the patient of  the risks of non-compliance, and have documented your recommendations in the patient’s medical record.

Patient refusal to have more tests

It is not uncommon for a patient to be anxious about what tests might reveal. That is why they refuse to take further steps. But if they are an adult and you have decided they are competent to make decisions about their health, then they are legally allowed to refuse treatment. The main issue for you is to be protected in case a patient seeks to blame you at a later stage if something negative happens due to their delay.


Medical indemnity insurance in Australia

In Australia, as a general rule, when patients decline to follow medical advice, we advise that you:

  • Have a comprehensive conversation with the patient.
  • Cover with them the benefits and risks of noncompliance.
  • Document it all in their medical record.
  • If needed – take the additional steps of writing a letter confirming their refusal with a refusal form.

Tego to the rescue

In Australia, there is an ever-increasing complexity for healthcare facilities and doctors, as you try to run a successful practice every day. That is why Tego has developed an all encompassing suite of Insurance services and products to protect you and your patients. With Tego as your partner, you will be able to focus more on what you are most proud of- providing true value in healthcare.

In conclusion

If you are worried about your medical malpractice insurance, we understand, a competent patient is entitled not to take your advice. That is why it may be necessary to withdraw from your patient’s care, especially if you feel the mutual trust between you and your patient has broken down. 

Tego offers medical indemnity insurance for medical practitioners. We have a profound understanding of the Australian medical profession and the ever-changing healthcare industry. It’s this expertise that allows us to provide leading cover with more choice, innovation and greater flexibility. Contact us to find out more.

All content on this page has been written in a generic way, and has not been presented with any knowledge of your personal objectives or financial needs.

This publication is general in nature and is not comprehensive or constitute legal or medical advice. You should seek legal, medical or other professional advice before relying on any content, and practice proper clinical decision making with regard to individual circumstances. Persons implementing any recommendations contained in this publication must exercise their own independent skill or judgment or seek appropriate professional advice relevant to their own particular practice. Compliance with any recommendations will not in any way guarantee discharge of the duty of care owed to patients and others coming into contact with the health professional or practice. Tego Insurance Pty Ltd is not responsible to you or anyone else for any loss su­ffered in connection with the use of this information.