Topic:Clinical governance in changing times: balancing risk, regulation and duty of care.

Day: Wednesday 21 October 2020

Time:  3:30pm-4:00pm AEDT


Clinical governance provides systemic management, oversight and accountability over the provision of care in the context of a risk environment. While risk usually cannot be eliminated, reasonable steps can be taken to mitigate it and support continuous improvement in care.

It is a role of clinical governance in aged care to actively consider risks so that providers can balance these against other obligations in the ACQS and their duty of care to residents, staff and families. As such, aged care providers should be cautious in taking a blinkered and blanket approach to governance, especially where such policies are solely reactive to the risk environment.

Risk must always be approached in a balanced and considered manner, and providers should exercise caution in adopting a reactive approach to emerging issues. This means aged care providers must actively assess risk as it evolves, in the context of their individual circumstances, and on the basis of clinical advice.

In addition, assessment and management of risk should always consider the impact of any measure on the rights or residents and other obligations in the ACQS, central to which is consumer centred care. Similarly, aged care providers and staff should understand their duty of care and how it sits along side with regulatory obligations.

Clinical governance is an important component of organisational governance required under Standard 8 of the ACQS. While consumer-centred care is central to these, Standard 8 is overarching and should support all other standards.


Melanie is a senior associate at Russell Kennedy who specialises in health and aged care law, including health privacy. She is also a medical practitioner, currently on the pandemic sub-register, and was previously a medical negligence lawyer as well as medico-legal advisor in medical defence organisations.