Monkeypox Declared a Notifiable Disease in NSW


This article applies to organisations that provide health services or operate pathology laboratories.

Public Health Amendment (Scheduled Medical Conditions and Notifiable Diseases) Order 2022 (NSW)

Changes to notifiable conditions and diseases

On 20 May 2022, the Public Health Amendment (Scheduled Medical Conditions and Notifiable Diseases) Order 2022 (NSW) (the Amending Order) amended the Public Health Act 2010 (NSW) (the Act).

Under the Act, certain medical conditions and diseases must be notified to the relevant NSW public health unit. The Amending Order has added Monkeypox to the list of category 2, 3 and 4 medical conditions as well as the list of notifiable diseases.

This means that registered medical practitioners, hospital CEOs and pathology laboratories must now treat Monkeypox as a category 2, 3 and 4 medical condition as well as a notifiable disease, and consequently must comply with the notification and record keeping requirements that apply to those conditions and notifiable diseases in relation to Monkeypox.

For example, under sections 54 and 55 of the Act, a registered medical practitioner and pathology laboratory must now record the particulars of the person’s medical condition and notify the Secretary of the Ministry of Health (the Secretary) regarding any persons suspected or confirmed to have Monkeypox, including after conducting a post-mortem examination. The Secretary may also provide a notice to someone who the Secretary suspects to have the infection to undergo a specified kind of medical examination or test by a registered medical practitioner.

Further, health practitioners have an obligation under section 82 of the Act to notify the hospital CEO if they suspect that a patient at the hospital has a notifiable disease or a former patient has had a notifiable disease while a patient at the hospital. The Hospital CEO must, under section 83 of the Act, notify the Secretary as soon as practicable if a patient or former patient has or had a notifiable disease while a patient at the hospital.

A failure to comply with the above obligations carries a maximum penalty of 50 penalty units (currently $5,500).

Conclusion

Organisations should ensure that relevant laboratory, medical staff and hospital CEOs are made aware of the new addition to the list of notifiable conditions and scheduled medical conditions as summarised above.


Contact

For further information please contact the Law Compliance team:

Phone: 1300 862 667

Email: info@lawcompliance.com.au