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«Making decisions can be difficult. Decisions involving financial and legal issues are even more complicated. Minor and major brain injury caused by a ...»

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The only time you can’t withdraw consent to treatment is if it is dangerous to do so, for example in the middle of a surgical procedure.

A second opinion Before you decide whether or not to undergo a particular treatment, particularly if there are risks involved, you may want to have a second opinion. Most doctors welcome this suggestion - they may suggest it themselves. The hospital or health service should be able to arrange for you to have a second opinion free of charge, but if you choose a private doctor for a second opinion a fee may be required.

Confidentiality Health professionals are in a special position of trust, like lawyers and priests. As a patient you trust health professionals with information that you would not share with anyone else. This information is confidential. Health professionals have an ethical and legal obligation not to give confidential information to anyone else without your specific consent except in certain circumstances e.g. life is at risk.

If you are concerned that health professionals are discussing your confidential information with other people, raise the matter with them. Ask to be present whenever these discussions occur.

Access to medical records While you have control over the confidential information in your medical records, you do not have control over the records, or access to them, except through the Freedom of Information Act 1991, or in relation to legal proceedings. Your medical records belong to the health service. If you ask to see your records or charts the health service may agree to show you.

Freedom of Information Act 1991 Page 11 of 13 BINSA Information on Legal and Finance The Freedom of Information Act 1991 only applies to information held by government bodies or public agencies.

Medical records held by public hospitals are covered by the Act, but records held by private hospitals or private health services, aren’t. The Act gives people a general right to have access to information, but if the public health service thinks the information might be harmful to the physical or mental health of the person, the information may be released to the person’s doctor rather than to the individual so that the person’s wellbeing can be monitored.

If you want to use the Freedom of Information Act 1991 to gain access to your medical records, ask to speak to the freedom of information person at the health service. There are costs involved. Ask how much it costs and whether you are eligible for the costs to be waived.

Disability discrimination State and Federal equal opportunity laws protect people from discrimination in certain circumstances. The Equal Opportunity Commission of South Australia investigates and attempts to resolve complaints lodged by people with disabilities. If you believe you have been unfairly treated by service providers, employers or educators because you have a brain injury, you may want to consider lodging a complaint. You can ring the Commission for information and advice – Ph: 08 8207 1977—Country Callers 1800 188 163.

Complaints All of us have a number of fundamental human rights. The right to complain if we are treated rudely, badly or unfairly is one of those rights. Sometimes just pointing out that you are unhappy with the way you have been or are being treated can fix the problem. At other times stronger action is required. Some rights are legally enforceable. If you think you have a complaint to make, think about what is needed to fix the problem. It may mean someone should stop doing something or it may mean someone should start doing something. The wrong thing may already have happened and there’s nothing that can be done for you but your complaint may prevent the same thing happening to someone else. You may believe you are entitled to an apology. You may have a legal right to compensation because the way you were treated was unlawful. Once you have decided what you want to achieve by complaining, it will be easier to decide who to complain to. You should complain to the person who can fix the problem.

Who to complain to Most health and other public services have in place a system for people who use the service to feed-back comments and criticism. Find out about the system operating in the service you have a complaint about and ‘pitch’ your complaint to the level most likely to get a quick result. You can always go up the hierarchy if you don’t get satisfaction. You may want to start with the individual concerned or their superior. If it’s a ‘systems’ problem you are experiencing try the unit manager or charge nurse or the claim manager. There may be a special complaints person. If not, consider approaching someone involved in the administration of the service. If you are concerned about the service or the way you have been treated by a publicly funded service, you may want to complain to the relevant government department head. If you have a legal complaint seek advice from a lawyer.

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Professional registration bodies If you are concerned about the competence, skill or ethics of a particular professional you may consider lodging a complaint with their relevant registration body.

Welcome to Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) is the organisation responsible for the implementation of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme across Australia.

Partnering with National Boards to regulate more than 560,000 health practitioners.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Board Chinese Medicine Board Chiropractic Board Dental Board Medical Board Medical Radiation Practice Board Nursing and Midwifery Board Occupational Therapy Board Optometry Board Osteopathy Board Pharmacy Board Physiotherapy Board Podiatry Board Psychology Board

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