Independent review commissioned into chaperoning

Thursday 11 August 2016
Bree Knoester

Dr Andrew Churchyard, former neurologist at Cabrini Health and Monash Health, is accused of sexually assaulting a number of his patients since 2002. Following extensive media attention, Partner Bree Knoester has received 100 inquiries from former patients alleging sexual misconduct [Updated: 27/10].

During her interview with Dr Sally Cockburn on 3AW last Sunday, Bree said “The true scale of Dr Churchyard’s offending is now becoming apparent, with many former patients realising that what took place during their consultations wasn’t supposed to happen.”

“In circumstances where these types of allegations have been made, chaperoning is just not appropriate and it doesn’t protect the public.”

Yesterday the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) issued a media release stating that in conjunction with the Medical Board of Australia, an independent review is being commissioned into the effectiveness of chaperoning restrictions in keeping patients safe. Leading the review is Professor Ron Paterson, an international expert on patients’ rights, complaints, healthcare quality and the regulation of health professions. His findings will be reported to the Health Ministers, and the AHPRA and Medical Board commit to being transparent in their responses to proposed recommendations.

“People have been really distressed by what has taken place and, for almost everyone we have spoken to, never told anyone about what happened to them. The response by AHPRA and the Medical Board means that these victims have been given a voice and a sense that they’ve been able to protect others” said Bree.

Bree Knoester has acted for many victims of sexual abuse, including doctor/patient abuse and historical sex abuse cases. If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, and would like legal advice, Bree can be contacted confidentially on her direct telephone number (03) 9321 9879.

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