The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (South Australia) (Remote Area Attendance) Amendment Act 2017, more commonly referred to as ‘Gayle’s Law’, was passed by Parliament to provide better protection for health practitioners working in remote areas of South Australia.
What is Gayle’s Law?
The South Australian Parliament passed Gayle’s Law in response to the death of Gayle Woodford, a dedicated nurse who was tragically murdered while working in a remote community in South Australia. In March 2016 Gayle Woodford received a late night emergency callout and was subsequently abducted and murdered in responding to this call alone.
Under Gayle’s Law, health practitioners in remote areas of South Australia must be accompanied by a second responder when attending an out of hours or unscheduled callout.
When will Gayle’s Law commence?
On 16 May 2019, the Governor issued a proclamation to bring Gayle’s Law into operation on 1 July 2019. Under the legislation health service providers must have in place arrangements for the engagement of second responders and policies and procedures to reflect the legislation.
Who will Gayle’s Law apply to?
Gayle’s Law applies to any health practitioner or person who provides a health service in response to an out of hours or unscheduled callout in a remote area of South Australia. This includes health services provided by:
- the South Australian Government;
- local councils;
- any person or organisation contracted to provide the service on behalf of the South Australian Government;
- any person or organisation funded, wholly or in part, by the Commonwealth or South Australian Governments to provide the service; or
- any person prescribed under the regulations (i.e. medical practitioners, registered nurses and midwives in private practice).
To find out more information download the Frequently asked questions about Gayle’s Law (PDF 345KB)
What does Gayle’s Law mean for service providers?
From 1 July 2019, health services must have in place:
the process of recruiting second responders; and
- policies and procedures to ensure they are compliant with requirements outlined in the Act and the Regulations.
Section 77H of the Act and Regulation 11F include the following requirements as a minimum to be covered in policies and procedures:
- a statement that the provider and any person employed by them are to comply with the requirements of Gayle’s Law;
- a provision preventing any person from directing or requiring a health practitioner to attend a callout without a second responder (unless in circumstances otherwise provided for under Gayle’s Law);
- explanation of the steps a health practitioner will need to take when conducting a risk assessment prior to attending a callout and what must be taken into account as part of that risk assessment;
- the process for assessing the eligibility and selection of persons as second responders; and
- the security measures that are in place at a health clinic or health facility to enable a health practitioner to attend a callout there without a second responder.
These policies and procedures must be reviewed, at a minimum every five years. If requested, health services must provide South Australia’s Minister for Health and Wellbeing with a copy of their policies and procedures under Gayle’s Law.
For more information
For more information about Gayle’s Law please email HealthPolicyLegislation@sa.gov.au or telephone (08) 8226 5399.