Consent to medical treatment - Proposed changes to the law
Consultation closed on 17 September 2020
Reason for the proposed Consent to Medical Treatment and Palliative Care (Restrictive Practices) Amendment Bill 2020
Sometimes when a patient presents at a hospital or a clinic they exhibit behaviours that pose a risk to themselves and to others. These challenging behaviours may be caused by intoxication from drugs and alcohol, a condition such as delirium. The patient may not have the capacity to make decisions for themselves, and may need assessment and treatment.
Changes to the Consent to Medical Treatment and Palliative Care Act 1995 (Consent Act) are being proposed to ensure that health practitioners have the appropriate legal framework to enable them to protect patients, themselves and others.
The proposed changes include provisions to enable authorised persons to use restrictive practices and provide medical treatment without consent in strictly limited circumstances, (that is only when the patient’s behaviour places them at risk of harming themselves, others, or property, and they are unable to consent due to impaired decision-making capacity). Treatment may only be provided to treat the condition causing the risk of harm and conditions arising from the harm (these changes do not impact current practices requiring consent with regard to managing ongoing illnesses).
Authorised persons will only have authority to exercise their powers for as long as necessary or for up to 24 hours (12 hours for children), whichever is the lesser.
The Bill also provides for classes of health practitioners to be prescribed in the regulations to extend the scope of the Act so that nurse practitioners, advance practice nurses and SA Ambulance Officers are captured for the provision of treatment that is within their scope of practice. These changes are intended to align the Act to current practice within the health care system.
In 2017 under the previous government, the Consent to Medical Treatment and Palliative Care (Restrictive Practices) Amendment Bill 2017 was prepared to be introduced to Parliament. It was the subject of wide consultation at that time.
Unfortunately the SA Governor prorogued parliament before the introduction of the Bill in December 2017 in preparation for the March 2018 election and the proposed changes were not progressed.
The submissions made on the 2017 Bill are acknowledged and have been considered in the drafting of the current Bill. We encourage those that made a submission in the 2017 consultation to do so again to ensure your views are properly considered in this new consultation process.
Use of the information and data contained within this site or these pages is at your sole risk.
If you rely on the information on this site you are responsible for ensuring by independent verification its accuracy, currency or completeness.
This site includes links to other websites operated by community, business and government.
These linked websites will have their own terms and conditions of use and you should familiarise yourself with these.
All linked websites are linked 'as is' and the Government of South Australia:
does not sponsor, endorse or necessarily approve of any material on websites linked from or to this Site;
does not make any warranties or representations regarding the quality, accuracy, merchantability or fitness for purpose of any material on websites linked from or to this Site;
does not make any warranties or representations that material on other websites to which this site is linked does not infringe the intellectual property rights of any person anywhere in the world; and
does not authorise the infringement of any intellectual property rights contained in material in other websites by linking this site to those other websites.
If you use automatic language translation services in connection with this site you do so at your own risk.
The information and data on this site is subject to change without notice. The Government of South Australia may revise this disclaimer at any time by updating this posting.
The Government of South Australia, its agents, instrumentalities, officers and employees:
make no representations, express or implied, as to the accuracy of the information and data contained on this site
make no representations, express or implied, as to the accuracy or usefulness of any translation of the information on this site or any linked website into another language
make no representations as to the availability of the site and the availability of websites linked from or to the site
accept no liability however arising for any loss resulting from the use of the site and any information and data or reliance placed on it (including translated information and data)
make no representations, either expressed or implied, as to the suitability of the said information and data for any particular purpose
accepts no liability for any interference with or damage to a user's computer, software or data occurring in connection with or relating to this Site or its use or any website linked to this site
do not represent or warrant that applications or payments initiated through this site will in fact be received or made to the intended recipient. Users are advised to confirm the application or payment by other means.