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Slater & Gordon Lawyers’ National Practice Group Leader – Medical Law and Accredited Specialist – Personal Injury Law,Bill Maddenspoke to us about some of the past structural changes and their impact on medical and health law.
You have a long history with this Medico Legal Congress and given this is the 25th Anniversary, what are some of the past structural changes you feel have had the most impact on medical and health law?
In the civil litigation area, I think most people would agree that the impacts have flowed from the civil liability legislative reforms in the various Australian jurisdictions, though unfortunately those reforms have not been quite the same. As a result that aspect of the law is now a little discordant. More recently an important practical reform is the move towards expert conclaves and concurrent evidence – a move which I think will spread geographically and will move into other areas such as disciplinary matters, coronial inquiries and some criminal prosecutions.
This year you are facilitating an interactive discussion with Associate Professor Tina Cockburn on The Medico Legal Future. Without giving too much away from your presentation, are you able to explain what you see as some of the most significant changes in the immediate future to the medico legal landscape?
We are likely to focus on three or four main trends in the future medico legal landscape. Obviously some clinical / scientific advances will need to be grappled with by the legal system. The changing models for delivery of clinical care, both corporate and technological, will raise new questions for consideration by the courts. Of particular interest to me personally is the increasing scope for data collection and analysis, which may see the courts need to move away from the traditional focus on a particular individual treatment episode.
Given the theme of our paper, I would be most interested to see the potentially intersecting issues raised by Louise Cantrill in her paper on nano medicine medico-legal issues. And of course being a lawyer, Julia Lonergan’s discussion of unresolved areas in medical law will be of particular interest to me.