FEaturE Are you covered? Professional indemnity insurance and the national law 16 | tqn | June 2010 www.qnu.org.au FEaturE 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 standard 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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