Activity 1: Mandatory Reporting

a) Reasonable grounds for mandatory reporting

Mandatory reporting can be defined as a term that entails amendable legislation for a chosen group of people. Here, in health and social care sector, these people are adhered to give details or report to their government agencies about some special medical cases. It includes report of injuries which has resulted from a weapon, impaired driving, high blood alcohol levels, communicable diseases that causes harm to other beings.

In addition to this, it is also mandatory to professionals and nurses child abuse to give report to state agencies about domestic violence, child and adult sexual abusive activities, exploitation, etc. Parliaments in overall Australian states and territories have made laws related to mandatory reporting which includes- whom to report and what type of cases should be reported. However, these laws are not same among all jurisdictions where variances occur on who has to report and type of abuse. It can be explained through following key features of legislative reporting duties:-


State of mind

Extent of harm



Suspects based on reasonable grounds where a child is at risk of harm

Cases where a child is at risk of certain harm due to not receiving proper medical facilities, education as per Education Act 1990, psychological harm where mother didn't engage to give support to own child for well-being and more.  

Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 as 23, 27, 27A


Reasonable suspicion

Emotional, psychological state of child that may cause in future due to current situation

Public Health Act 2005 as 158, 191; Child Protection Act 1999 as 22, 186 Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 including 364, 365, 365A, 366, 366A


Belief on reasonable grounds

It includes factors, circumstances on mental, physical or emotional development of child.

Care and Protection of Children Act including 15, 16, 26


Suspects or belief on reasonable grounds

Sexual activities or other kind of abusiveness due to which child has suffered

Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1997 including 3, 4, 14


Belief on reasonable grounds

Any sexual abusiveness

Children and Community Services Act 2004 including 124A-H


Suspect on reasonable grounds

Sexual or other kinds of assault; serious neglect or psychological harm



Belief on reasonable grounds

Non-accidental physical injuries that cause by using weapon, sexual abusive activities or exploitation.

Children and Young People Act 2008 including 356, 357

Mandatory reporting refers to a legal requirement that assists nurses and other healthcare professionals to report to regulatory bodies or management when people is at significant risk. This legislation is mainly enacted when public protection needs state-enforced regulations. Along with this, with such reporting of nurses, it has ascertained that in order to seek to protect individuals at-risk, it is essential for health practitioners to identify the causes behind same such as abuse and neglect.

As all state has different-different laws and jurisdictions, therefore, there is a wide range of interpretation which varies from state to state and entails how vulnerable situations and reasons behind occurrence of same are identified (Dilemmas in Mandatory Reporting for Nurses: Mandatory Reporting, 2019). This states mandate reporting to seniors or regulatory bodies who are made to resolve such cases. Apart from differences in  jurisdictions and legislative duties, a common approach related to legislative schemes can be explained in following manner :-

  • Instead of discretionary, duty is obligatory which defines which persons under healthcare should make reports;
  • Before making mandatory report, it is essential to identify the state of mind that a reporter must have;
  • Report must describes the types of activities related to abuse and neglect;
  • It also define the extent of neglect or abuse which requires to be reported;
  • Nurses or reporters under health and social case must entails if duty applies only to present or past or abuse. In addition to this, it also includes significant case where future abuse can also be occurred;
  • Legislations related to mandatory reporting describes state penalties for failure to report. This would encourage reporting instead to police it;
  • provide a reporter with confidentiality regarding their identity;
  • provide a reporter with immunity from liability arising from a report made in good faith;
  • state when the report must be made;
  • Jurisdiction department of every state including Australians also entails whom the report must be made for child protection and welfare of human;
  • It includes kind of details that should be contained under report;

Therefore, in order to achieve objectives mandatory reporting under health and social care, it is essential for every nurse and professionals to take effective training. This is also mandatory as per jurisdiction because it will enable reporters for identifying and developing reports on suspicions cases. It would also lead to avoid unnecessary information under reports that make them more authenticate. In this regard, shortage of sufficient or appropriate training, wrong way to detect information and more, leads to cause failure of mandatory reporting.

But as per recent study, it has evaluated that under Australian states, professionals or nurses who are are worked for reporting child abuse and neglect cases, haven't taken any kind of training, which are required to perform this responsibility (Cavaye and Watts, 2014). As such professionals believed that having less knowledge of nature of duty, way to make report, a belief on child welfare and protective services would only impact on decisions, not on objectives of reporting. But by evaluating its importance, South Australia is going to start some multidisciplinary programs which are essential for all nurses and health practitioners who are responsible for mandatory reporting, to take training. This would help in attaining objectives of such reporting in highly efficient manner for well-being and welfare of child, adults and all human beings.

Activity 2: Privacy And Confidentially

a) Legislative requirement under privacy and confidentiality

Confidentiality refers to protection of personal data and informations from those activities, that harm individual either in professional or personal manner. It includes date of birth, age, sex, personal care issues, mental or physical disorder, personal-plans, medical history, bank details, contact details and more (Lubbe and Roets, 2014). In context with health and social care, nurses and health practitioners are prohibited to disclose any kind of personal information related to medical history and particular disease in front of other persons, without their permission (Confidentiality and Privacy in healthcare, 2019). This would help in building a personal bond and developing trust between patient and their service providers.

Currently, on 1st January, 2019, The Australian Aged Care Quality Agency and Aged Care Complaints Commission has replaced with Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.

It outlines the privacy policy for healthcare sectors where it is mandatory for professionals and nurses to manage personal information as well as safeguard privacy as per Privacy Act 1988 and Australian Privacy Principals. This policy helps practitioners to understand the way to collect personal information, deal with unsolicited data, to whom such information can be disclosed and more.

The term confidentiality and privacy are considered as interchangeably aspects. Here, confidentiality contains information only where privacy defined the personal data of an individual. Therefore, for healthcare service providers, legal duty of confidentiality and privacy oblige them to protect patients' data against any inappropriate disclosure of their personal information.

Here, The AMA (Australian Medical Association) Code of ethics assist nurses and other service providers in healthcare sector to maintain confidentiality of patients. Meanwhile, it has also made some exemptions to disclose some part of information, if there is a serious risk for a patient or surrounded persons (Daly, Speedy and Jackson, 2017). For this purpose, special treatment has provided to such patients.

Legislations are more required for maintaining privacy and confidentiality due to following reasons:

  • To gain consent of individuals for collection of information such as patient's having serious diseases like HIV and other relatable conditions.
  • Patients have rights to choose who can access personal information, therefore, through legislation, service providers get right to obtain such data.
  • Service users are also concerned to get proper medical care and wanted to get every information related to symptoms of severe diseases. In this regard, healthcare practitioners can decide what has to tell or pass information to such patients.
  • To promote trust and public confidence in healthcare services by developing a proper privacy mechanism and providing rights to individuals to access their health records.

b) Amendments to Privacy Act (1988)- the Privacy Amendment Act (2000) cover?

Since information related to a persons' health or disability is much sensitive therefore, there are various laws have been made in Australia (Kean and Mitchell, 2014). It includes Australian Privacy Principals (APP) that explains how healthcare practitioners have to deal with personal information (collection, storage, access, security, use and disclose). Another law is Australian Information Commissioner which contains privacy principles guidelines and Privacy Impact Assessments Code 2017, that states that all agencies (Department of Health) conduct assessment that includes all high privacy projects.

Similarly, Privacy Act 1988 states how personal information of patients, staff members and other associated persons of a healthcare organisation is handled. As to collect personal information related to past and present medical history, service providers need  consent of individual and their family members.

Therefore, this act gives guidelines for extra protection to uphold and store such information in a confidential manner. With this assistance, The Office of Australian Information Commissioner i.e. OAIC helps in handling such health information. This commissioner has also established some business resources and privacy fact sheet that allow organisations and individuals to understand their undersigned rights and responsibilities.

Privacy Act 1988 in Australia regulated the way by which healthcare professionals can handle the personal information of their patients (Hart, Brannan and De Chesnay 2014). This law gives rights to nurses and services providers to get control over procedures to handle personal information. While in context with individuals, it allows them to identify reasons why their personal information is collected, who will access it and to whom it disclose also.

Through this process, trust among patients and healthcare practitioners can be developed, which helps in delivering effective medical care practices. It also gives the right to individuals to use pseudonyms or not reveal their own identity during treatment, under certain circumstances.

In case of any discrepancy, they can also make complaints about leakage of personal information or identity to commissioned bodies. As per this Privacy Act, responsibilities to handle such data in privacy and confidential manner are taken by the Australian Government Agencies and organisations that work for the well-being of people having a turnover of more than $3 million. It also includes private hospitals, medical practitioners, child care centres, gym and weight loss clinics, complementary therapists and more.

While Privacy Act 2000 amends the Privacy Act 1988 that allows services providers of healthcare sectors to share information with others, if necessary or under certain circumstances. This act also outlines some privacy issues and safeguards for considering such conditions.

More importantly, this legislation provides a choice to handle the health information of patients in their own manner but securely. Here, open-end communications among healthcare practitioners and patients are considered a main central element, that helps in addressing privacy and confidentiality issues (Bismark et. al. 2014). For this purpose to decide how personal information of a person can be handled, services providers are needed to be concerned with some main aspects.

It includes who is allowed to access medical records of the hospital and when as well as how it is appropriate for transferring information to another. Therefore, The Privacy Amendment Act 2000 that amens Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988, has mainly enacted to ascertain minimum privacy standards for private sectors of Australia. It allows both individuals and healthcare practitioners to access and handle personal information.

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  • Daly, J., Speedy, S., & Jackson, D. (2017). Contexts of nursing: An introduction. Elsevier Health Sciences.
  • Fraser, J., Waters, D., Forster, E., & Brown, N. (2017). Paediatric Nursing in Australia. Cambridge University Press.
  • Kean, S., & Mitchell, M. (2014). How do intensive care nurses perceive families in intensive care? Insights from the United Kingdom and Australia. Journal of clinical nursing. 23(5-6). 663-672.
  • Carrigan, C. (2014). FLYING UNDER THE RADAR: The health of refugees and asylum seekers in Australia. Australian Nursing and Midwifery Journal. 21(9). 22.
  • Lubbe, J. C., & Roets, L. (2014). Nurses’ scope of practice and the implication for quality nursing care. Journal of Nursing Scholarship. 46(1). 58-64.
  • Atkins, K. & et. al. (2017). Ethics and law for Australian nurses. Cambridge University Press.
  • Wilkinson, A. M., & Matzo, M. (2015). Nursing education for disaster preparedness and response. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing. 46(2). 65-73.
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