Common complaint enquiries

The Professional Conduct section of the Medical Council often deals with enquiries concerning medical certificates, medical records and advertising regulations.

Medical Certificates
The Medical Council receives numerous enquiries and complaints regarding the quality, accuracy and truthfulness of medical certificates. Guidelines are contained in the Medical Council's Medical Certificates Policy.

Section 133 of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (NSW) states as follows.

(1) A person must not advertise a regulated health service, or business that provides a regulated health service, in any of the following ways:

(a) is false, misleading or deceptive or is likely to be misleading or deceptive

(b) offers a gift, discount or other inducement to attract a person to use the service of the business, unless the advertisement also states the terms and conditions of the offer

(c) uses testimonials or purported tesimonials about the service or business

(d) creates an unreasonable expectation of beneficial treatment

(e) directly or indirectly encourages the indiscriminate or unnecessary use of regulated health services

Maximum penalty (a) in the case of an individual: $5,000, or

(b) in the case of a body corporate: $10,000.

(2) A person does not commit an offence against subsection (1) merely because the person, as part of the person's business, prints or publishes an advertisement for another person.

(3) In proceedings for an offence against this section, a court may have regard to a guideline approved by a National Board about the advertising of regulated health services.

(4) In this section 'regulated health service' means a service provided by, or usually provided by, a health practitioner.

The Medical Board of Australia has developed guidelines concerning advertising.

Medical Records
The law requires records to be kept by medical practitioners. Schedule 2 of the Health Practitioner Regulation (NSW) Regulation 2010 prescribes the information that must be included in records to be kept by medical practitioners and medical corporations in relation to patients.

In particular, the regulation requires a medical corporation to appoint a medical practitioner responsible for the corporation's record keeping. Such appointment must be in writing and in force at all times.

Health Practitioner Regulation (New South Wales) Regulation 2010 Reg 8 - Medical services corporation to appoint practitioner to be responsible for record keeping:

(1) A medical corporation must, by written notice given to the Medical Council, appoint a medical practitioner responsible for record keeping by the corporation. There must be such an appointment in force at all times, otherwise the medical corporation is guilty of an offence. Maximum penalty: 2 penalty units.

(2) The notice of appointment must be accompanied by a notice of acceptance of the appointment signed by the appointed person.

(3) An appointment may be revoked by written notice to the Medical Council given either by the corporation or by or on behalf of the appointed person. The appointment is automatically revoked if the person appointed ceases to be a medical practitioner.

(4) If a medical corporation contravenes this Part or Schedule 2 the person appointed under this section, to be responsible for record keeping by the corporation at the time of the contravention, is taken to have contravened the provision.

Form (complete and return to the Medical Council):
Appointment of a person to be responsible for the creation and retention of medical records by a corporation