Late term abortion saga ends

The Australian reports on the Victorian Medical Practitioners Board‘s finding in favour of the 5 doctors allegedly involved in a late term abortion at the Royal Women’s Hospital which upset Coalition MP Julian McGauran. He exercised the right open to everyone to complain about the conduct of a doctor, and the Medical Board was obliged to investigate unless it found the complaint to be frivolous or vexatious, but the saga has prompted change: in future, the Board can decline to investigate on the basis that the complaint is misconceived, lacking in substance or “does not warrant investigation”.

The Supreme Court’s decision (Royal Women’s Hospital v Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria [2005] VSC 225) and Court of Appeal’s decisions ([2006] VSCA 85) are leading authorities about public interest immunity, which the Court of Appeal held provided no basis to withhold confidential patient records.

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