New Zealand Medico-Legal Congress

Examining the key medico-legal issues and the implications on industry and public

14 - 15 Oct 2020Ellerslie Event Centre, Auckland
Event Details


Registration and coffee
Opening remarks from the Chair
Iris Reuvecamp, Principal , Vida Law
A dive into the key updates on medico-legal issues for 2020 and beyond
  • Revising the upcoming legalities shortly going into referendum alongside the general election
  • Analysing recent case law
  • Preparing for regulatory and legislative change
  • Assessing the impact on healthcare practitioners, managers and medico-legal professionals
Iris Reuvecamp, Principal , Vida Law
Creating a new Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission
  • Demonstrating the importance and investment in mental health and wellbeing
  • Reviewing the actions in place to tackle long-term challenges of improving mental healthcare across New Zealand
  • Learning who is on the Commission and what their collective goals are
  • How mental healthcare in New Zealand looks 2021 and beyond: Are we are setting the world standard?
Speaker from the Initial Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission
Morning break
Health and Disability Commissioner’s Address: Recent themes and outcomes
  • Update on the issues from recent complaints and decisions
  • Failure to obtain Informed consent - why do these issues continue to arise?
Dr Cordelia Thomas, Associate Commissioner , Health and Disability Commission
Examining recent Coroners Court developments
  • Exploring recent findings of New Zealand Coroner Courts
  • Looking at the findings that have specific medical and legal ramifications
  • Assessing recommendations that the court has brought forward that should influence future medical practice
Janet Anderson, Coroner, Coronial Services of New Zealand
Lunch Break
De-criminalizing abortion: Treating and regulating abortion as a health issue
  • Crime Act 1961: Re-looking at near 60-year old thinking in relation to abortion
  • Learning the changes and its implications of the proposed abortion reform
  • Examining the ethics for medical practitioners: What are the safeguards and opt outs for doctors?
  • What does this all mean for medico-legal professionals?
Terry Bellamak, National President, ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa
End of Life Choice and its impending referendum: Future consequences if mandated
  • Understanding the intricacies of the proposed legislation
  • How will the proposed system work in practice?
  • Updates since its passing in 2019: Has public opinion changed?
  • Investigating the unavoidable implications that clinicians and health providers should be prepared for
Dr Mary Panko, President, End-of-Life Choice Society
Cannabis in New Zealand
  • Analysing the changes in the law that come into effect in April 2020
  • Medicinal Cannabis as an alternate treatment option: When should it be the preferred option?
  • What are the rights of patients and clinicians around access to medical cannabis?
  • Are the cannabis products required available for doctors to prescribe?
Dr Graham Gulbransen, Addiction Specialist, Cannabis Consultant, Cannabis Care Clinic
Afternoon Break
Developments in ACC Law and How to Help Your Patients Get Cover
  • Examining recent clarification from the courts on the boundaries of ACC cover
  • Learning the do’s and don’ts when lodging an ACC claim as a Registered Health Practitioner (RHP)
Brittany Peck, Solicitor, John Miller Law
Pain management and the law: Lessons from case law and patients’ perspectives
  • Pain relief: human rights, health consumer rights and provider duties (legal background)
  • Analysing Health and Disability Commissioner cases: Exploring issues from practice and the legal response to inadequate pain management
  • Investigating patients’ perspectives on shared decision-making in alternative pain therapy: Case study of medicinal cannabis
Dr Marta Rychert, Senior Research Officer, Massey University
Case Study: Demand management in emergency delivery services (EDS)- with consideration to COVID-19
  • Analysing what happens when EDS is overwhelmed by a pandemic, to patients suffering from immediate health concerns
  • If ethics can’t be compromised during overload, what can?
  • Examining how day-to-day planning of scarce resources influences the long-term strategic planning
  • The role of managers and clinicians in ensuring resources are used effectively and efficiently- when does potential COVID-19 patients get priority?
  • Understanding what the health systems legal obligation for the statutory provision of care are- does this change during a pandemic?
Stephanie Watson, Clinical Nurse Manager- Emergency Department, Tauranga Hospital
Summary remarks from the Chair & Networking Drinks
Welcome back from the Chair
Iris Reuvecamp, Principal , Vida Law
Case Study: Key learnings from recent public health issues situations
Catherine Deans, Senior Associate, Claro Law
Vaccines and the right to refuse medical treatment- a human rights perspective
  • Exploring the relevant legal and human rights principles
  • Detailing the information that needs to be provided when making vaccination decisions
  • Looking at the rights of children, caregivers and the wider community
  • Investigating if pandemics justify compulsory vaccination
John Hancock, Chief Legal Adviser (Acting), New Zealand Human Rights Commission
Morning Break
The Right to Health: A Funder’s Perspective
  • Examining the “right to health” as it is recognised in several international legal instruments but lacks consensus on what it means
  • Analysing when we do recognise a right to health, how do we honour this when the range and cost of health technologies and interventions continues to increase every year?
  • Exploring the above questions with reference to the approaches adopted by PHARMAC when it decides which pharmaceuticals to fund in New Zealand, including consideration to the COVID-19 pandemic
Graham Beever, General Counsel, PHARMAC
Snake venom and sauna domes: New Zealand’s response to substandard practices of complementary health providers
  • Examination of breaches of the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights by complementary providers
  • Analysis of decisions of the Human Rights Review Tribunal regarding complementary health providers’ breaches
  • Constructive comment on New Zealand’s complaints regime and legal relief provided by Human Rights Review Tribunal for people who are aggrieved by the services they received
Professor Kate Diesfeld, Professor of Law, Chair, Auckland University of Technology Ethics Committee
Lunch Break
Elder abuse: Shedding light on a silent issue in New Zealand
  • Who is responsible for reporting such abuse?
  • Examining the current processes and communication channels for reporting and dealing with such abuse
  • Understanding the common and hidden forms of abuse for elder care providers to be aware of
Kevin Lamb, CEO, Age Concern Auckland
Mental capacity law and practice – Where to from here?

The Law Commission is putting a review of laws related to adults with impaired decision-making capacity on its work programme. Following the Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry, the Government plans to create a new Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission. This presentation will address the current state of the law as it affects people with impaired capacity from decision-making and the need for a cohesive practical guidance as to how the law is implemented in the health and disability sector. Including discussion of the challenges of undertaking virtual/remote capacity assessments in the current COVID 19 environment.

Alison Douglass, Barrister, Barristers Chambers
Afternoon Break
Capacity Assessments among the elderly with or without dementia
  • Understanding how often elderly should be subject to capacity assessments
  • Ethics around making decisions for elderly when they lack capacity and family is absent or unwilling to help
  • Learning how to deal with resistant or confused elderly: What are the capacity and consent issues?
  • Navigating the delicate situations when elderly develop or are on the brink of developing dementia
Dr Jane Casey, Consultant Psychiatrist and Psychogeriatrician, Vermont Street Specialists
Information sharing and privacy of patients
  • Understanding who has access to what information
  • Knowing when to breach patient/ health practitioner confidentiality and the ethics around it: is it ever acceptable?
  • Ensuring the right people have access to the right information when appropriate
  • What is the value of such personal information?
  • How the looming changes to the Privacy Act would impact on medical information governance and processes
Closing remarks from the Chair and end of conference
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