Independent review of chaperones to protect patients

Professor Ron Paterson1

1 Professor of Law, University of Auckland 


In what circumstances is it appropriate to impose a chaperone condition on the registration of a health practitioner to protect patients while allegations of sexual misconduct are investigated?

I have been appointed by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and the Medical Board of Australia to review the use of mandated chaperones to protect patients.

The purpose of this session is to invite bioethicists and health lawyers to consider:

  1. whether chaperone conditions are an effective measure to protect patients
  2. whether chaperone conditions are appropriate given the importance of trust and informed consent in the professional relationship between patients and their health practitioners
  3. in what circumstances chaperone conditions are not appropriate
  4. if chaperone conditions are appropriate in some circumstances, what steps need to be taken to ensure patients are protected (including effective monitoring of chaperone conditions to ensure compliance) and are adequately informed
  5. what alternative regulatory measure can be used to protect patients while allegations of sexual misconduct are investigated.

The full terms of reference for the review may be viewed at:


Ron Paterson is Professor of Law at the University of Auckland. He was Health and Disability Commissioner 2000–10 and Parliamentary Ombudsman 2013–16. Ron is an international expert on complaints, healthcare quality and the regulation of health professions. He is co-editor of Health Law in New Zealand (2015) and author of The Good Doctor: What Patients Want (2012). Ron was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to health in 2011 and an honorary Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians in 2014.

About the Association

The Australasian Association of Bioethics and Health Law (AABHL) was formed in 2009.

It encourages open discussion and debate on a range of bioethical issues, providing a place where people can ask difficult questions about ideas and practices associated with health and illness, biomedical research and human values.

The AABHL seeks to foster a distinctive Australasian voice in bioethics, and provide opportunities for international engagement through its membership, journal and conferences.

Members come from all the contributing humanities, social science and science disciplines that make up contemporary bioethics.

Many members have cross-disciplinary interests and all seek to broaden the dialogues in which all members of the wider community ultimately have an interest.

The AABHL is a supportive, creative and challenging community that provides a rich source of continuing academic refreshment and renewal.

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