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Defamatory material blocked by Yahoo!

The internet, and in particular the expansion of online publication with blogs, internet fora, Twitter etc, has greatly increased the opportunities for people to make statements on all manner of things.

While this has created greater opportunities for freedom of expression, exchange of ideas and social interaction, it has the potential for misuse and to cause harm. MPS is aware of a number of cases where defamatory material about members has been made available to the public through such media.

The law in the area of electronic media is developing as fast as the technology that supports it. Cases in different jurisdictions have been argued on matters such as what constitutes “publication”, which party is responsible for material on websites or displayed on search engines, how to deal with defamatory material and where in the world a case should be brought.

MPS supported a member in taking proceedings in the High Court against the internet search companies Yahoo!Xtra New Zealand Limited and Google New Zealand

In June 2011 MPS supported a member in taking proceedings in the High Court against the internet search companies Yahoo!Xtra New Zealand Limited and Google New Zealand. These proceedings were necessary as search engines administered by these companies displayed defamatory material of an extreme nature when a search was carried out on the member’s name.

Despite this being brought to the attention of these companies since early 2010, no effective and enduring action was taken by them to stop the material from being displayed. Legal proceedings were commenced with the aim to bring this about.

As a result, in October 2011 Yahoo!Xtra settled the case before going to court and agreed that the URL link to the material would be indefinitely blocked from the Yahoo!Xtra search engine. There was also an agreement that should the material reappear in the future, Yahoo!Xtra would promptly remove it.

MPS position statement: Teleradiology

Teleradiology is the process whereby an image is taken in one location and then transmitted to another for reading, analysis, interpretation and provision of a report by the radiologist at the other location.

Members are expected to advise MPS if they are participating in teleradiology and restrict the practice to their respective local jurisdiction. If an indemnity risk arises from that practice then the appropriate grade for that jurisdiction will be charged.

Members should not assume that their current MPS membership will offer such an indemnity
Members who wish to practise teleradiology in circumstances where the image is taken in another jurisdiction must both be appropriately registered and have professional indemnity cover in the jurisdiction where the image is taken. MPS may be able to offer benefits of membership in these circumstances and members should contact MPS for advice. Members should not assume that their current MPS membership will offer such an indemnity.

Cosmetic guidance updated

The Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ) has revised its Statement on Cosmetic Procedures. Last year the Council consulted on the changes, which largely relate to the regulation of tumescent liposuction.

MCNZ Senior Policy Adviser and Researcher Michael Thorn said: “Overall our intention with regards to the standards around cosmetic procedures has not been to stop doctors from practising, but to ensure that if they do so then they have the appropriate skills, knowledge and expertise.”

He added: “With respect to more invasive procedures, particularly tumescent liposuction, we are more explicit around training requirements; that is we expect doctors to be vocationally registered, that is a specialist or enrolled in a vocational training programme, and GPs and trainees will need to meet specified recertification requirements, which include reporting audit results to the Council.”

The revised Statement on Cosmetic Procedures is available here.

To find out about other developments visit The Medical Council of New Zealand website.

GPs and trainees will need to meet specified recertification requirements, which include reporting audit results to the Council

Registration changes for radiologists

All radiologists who are based abroad and are providing teleradiology services to New Zealand consumers will be required to be registered within this scope of practice.

Last year the Medical Council of New Zealand gazetted a new scope of practice called Special Purpose: Teleradiology. From November 2011, only radiologists who have been granted registration are able to provide teleradiology services to New Zealand consumers.

According to the MCNZ, there are still requirements that are still being resolved. For more information click here.

New MLAs join MPS

The MPS New Zealand team has expanded, taking on two new medicolegal advisers (MLAs) at their Auckland office. Both Dr Garry Clearwater and Dr Andrew Stacey trained at Auckland University. Dr Clearwater now works part-time as an emergency medicine specialist at North Shore and Waitakere Hospitals at Waitemata DHB.

The MPS New Zealand team has expanded, taking on two new medicolegal advisers at their Auckland office

Since starting work at Waitemata DHB, Dr Clearwater has held various roles including clinical director, director of emergency medicine training and overseeing morbidity and mortality reviews.

Dr Stacey has been working as an urgent care physician for the past five years. Over the past three years he has also worked as a GP liaison at Middlemore Hospital. He gained a fellowship of the College of Urgent Care Physicians in 2009 and the Australasian College of Legal Medicine last year.

He is currently completing his law professionals course and is working towards being admitted to the roll of barristers and solicitors of the High Court of New Zealand.

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