Are you covered? Professional indemnity insurance and the national law by ProQuest


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  Are you covered?
  Professional indemnity
  insurance and the
  national law

16 | tqn | June 2010

                 Under the new national registration scheme to be introduced on 1 July this year, nurses
                 and midwives will be required to hold “appropriate professional indemnity insurance
                 arrangements” as a condition of practice. In this article, QNU Senior Legal Officer, Luke
                 Forsyth, examines why all nurses and midwives are potentially at risk of failing to comply
                 with the new requirement.

                 In March the Nursing and Midwifery Board of
                 Australia (NMBA) published the Professional             would allow nurses and midwives to easily assess
                 Indemnity Insurance Arrangements Registration           whether they meet the PII standard, nurses and
                 Standard (PII standard) which nurses and midwives       midwives are required to decide for themselves
                 (and students of nursing and midwifery) must comply     whether the professional indemnity insurance
                 with in order to practice. The QNU believes that:       arrangements they have in place are appropriate. The
                                                                         onus is on the nurse or midwife to get it right—or
                 » nurses and midwives may have difficulty complying     face the consequences.
                   with the PII standard
                                                                         After a thorough examination, the QNU can now
                 » Queensland Health (QH) nurses and midwives will       confirm that our PI insurance policy, which is a
                   not comply with the PII standard solely because of    benefit of our union membership, satisfies the PII
                   their employment with QH                              standard.
                 » QH nurses and midwives will be in breach of the
                   PII standard and the national law as of 1 July 2010   The problems with the PII standard
                                                                         The QNU believes that the PII standard contains
                 » the PII standard could mislead nurses in private      a number of major errors which, if relied upon by
                   employment as to their ability to satisfy the PII
                                                                         nurses and midwives, will result in them breaching
                                                                         the national law.
                 » the PII standard fails to comply with the national    Firstly, the standard states that:
                   law and is invalid.
                                                                         Nurses and midwives in a genuine employment or
                 The national law                                        student relationship would be covered vicariously by
                 The Health Practitioners Regulation National Law Act    their employer’s or education institution’s insurance.
                 2009 (national law) was passed by the Queensland        There is no legal obligation for an employer to hold
                 Parliament on 3 November 2009.                          PI insurance. Therefore not all employers of nurses
                 The national law provides that the NMBA must            and midwives will have insurance. Further, there is
                 develop a registration standard in relation to          no legal obligation for an employer who holds PI
                 professional indemnity insurance (PI insurance).        insurance to have an extension of cover clause in their
                 Section 129 of the national law provides that a         insurance contract which extends cover under the
                 nurse or midwife must not practice unless they          insurance policy to their employees.
                 have appropriate professional indemnity insurance       Even employers who have PI insurance that covers
                 arrangements in place.                  
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