Working in the Public Sector- How to Avoid Legal Hazards

There are many similarities as well as differences in challenges and stresses that medical practitioners experience when working in the public sector compared with the private practice. One area that Tego has seen a recent increase in with junior medical practitioners in the public health sector. It has been suggested that junior medical practitioners are more susceptible and vulnerable due to the very little control they have over their practice. Added to this is the stress of knowing that your first experiences may have real consequences for the rest of your career.

Workplace Environment

Working in a public facility creates many challenges, issues such as the hours worked and the type of practice and patients cared for. It is important for junior doctors to identify these challenges and to manage their professional life intelligently: from getting professional support such as second opinions, peer reviews, and participating in interest groups.

But perhaps even more critical and not always so easily managed is the personal and social life. Creating a balanced lifestyle of rest, play, exercise, family life, relationships, personal therapy (if required) are integral. It also means having and visiting a GP regularly (this is also stated in AHPRA Codes of conduct Section 9 ‘Ensuring doctors’ health’).

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Legal Hazards Usually Start With Complaints 

Some medico-legal issues can be anticipated but many are unforeseen. Informed consent, building trust, doing your best, and managing complaints promptly and professionally can mitigate unintended consequences. In addition demonstrating and exercising reasonable care and skill, or being witnessed by your peers, are strategies that can assist in having a successful legal defence.

Here are some other strategies so you can avoid complaints and legal hazards.

  • Keep well, fresh, fit and healthy.
  • Recognise when you need to rest and avoid exhaustion.
  • Do not harass others.
  • Communicate well at the point of consultation.
  • Obtain informed consent.
  • Be honest with colleagues and patients and don’t raise false expectations.
  • Get help when you need it.
  • Remember the Codes of Conduct 

Tego Protecting You And Your Practice 

As a medical indemnity insurance provider in Australia, we will cover your practice with medical indemnity insurance, medical malpractice insurance, doctors indemnity insurance, medical practice insurance, gp medical indemnity insurance, and more. If you are a medical practitioner with Tego, your medical indemnity insurance comes with 24/7 medico-legal advice and support. No matter where you practice we can help you navigate the legal risks and hazards of being a health practitioner. 

This publication is general in nature and is not comprehensive or constitutes 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.