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AVN Hccc Reply

AVN Hccc Reply

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Published by Ken McLeod
A trip down Fantasy Lane, where Ms Dorey responded to the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission with a farrago of lies, delusions, and confusion.
A trip down Fantasy Lane, where Ms Dorey responded to the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission with a farrago of lies, delusions, and confusion.

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Published by: Ken McLeod on Sep 20, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Your ref: file no. 09/01695
7 September 2009
Complaint Assessment BranchHealth Care Complaints CommissionLocked Mail Bag 18
: 02 9281 4585 Attention: Ms Kristie Brown, Team Leader Dear Ms Brown,
 I write both on behalf of myself and as President of the Australian VaccinationNetwork (AVN) in response to the complaints dated 14 July 2009 made to theHealth Care Complaints Commission by Mr Ken McLeod regarding theactivities of the AVN as an organisation and of myself, as President of the AVN.Please find attached the detailed response to each of the matters raised in Mr McLeod's complaint as requested in your letter of 31 July 2009. Please beaware that the attached response is intended to cover the response of bothmyself and the AVN as an organisation to each of the matters listed as beingthe subject of Mr Mcleod's 23 page complaint letter.Please also be advised that Mr McLeod has made numerous directcommunications to the AVN and myself via email communication over the lastfew years, and such communications have been very rude and aggressive intone and intimidating in nature, particularly towards myself. I have founddealing with this man very distressing and hurtful, and for this reason, I andthe AVN strenuously request that the contents of the attached response bedealt with by the HCCC on a strictly confidential basis and not be provided toMr McLeod until a final decision has been reached. I fear that the provision of 
our response to him will just generate more hostility and aggression by himtowards the AVN.I can give no explanation for the ferocity with which he pursues both myself and the AVN as we are just a small, not-for-profit organisation that seeks toprovide families and individuals with information relating to vaccination andother health issues. However, the threat that he poses and continues to poseto me and my family is very real. For these reasons, I and the AVN requestthat the HCCC use the attached response for the purposes of assessing thecomplaint only, and not be provided to Mr McLeod or any group with which heis associated.I and the AVN understand that the purpose of the HCCC requesting aresponse to the complaint is so that the complaint can be assessed under the
Health Care Complaints Act 
1993 (NSW) to determine:1. whether it comes within the commission's jurisdiction, and2. whether the complaint should be referred for investigation, conciliationor whether the complaint should be discontinued.Neither I nor the AVN have the financial resources to engage legal counsel toundertake the legal analysis required to determine with precision whether or not the
Health Care Complaints Act 
1993 ("the Act") gives the HCCC jurisdiction to deal with this complaint. Suffice to say we consider the terms of section 7 of the Act, which sets out the circumstances which can be thesubject of a complaint, to restrict complaints to the matters listed in sub-paragraph 1(b) of that section. Because the activities of the AVN do not qualifyas "
affect[ing] the clinical management or care of an individual client" 
for thepurposes of s.7(1)(b) no complaint brought against the AVN under the Act canbe lawfully dealt with by the HCCC. Mr McLeod has provided no evidence inhis complaint that any
"individual client" 
has had their clinical management or care affected by the information that is made available by the AVN and thushas not met the basic threshold for the bringing of a complaint under the ActThe AVN accepts that the definition of 
"health service" 
under section 4 toinclude
"health education services" 
may be broad enough to cover theinformation giving activities of the AVN, thereby making the AVN a
"healthservice provider" 
for the purposes of the Act. However, it is the AVN'ssubmission that the terms of section 7(1)(b) of the Act limits complaintsbrought against a
Health Service Provider 
to complaints relating to "
a healthservice which affects the clinical management or care of an individual client." 
Sub-paragraphs (2) and (3) of section 7 cannot be read as doing anythingmore than going on to clarify the primary circumstances which may be thesubject of a complaint to the HCC, not to expand such circumstances. Theeffect of section 7 then is to ensure that it is only complaints about healthservice providers that "
affects the clinical management or care of an individual client" 
that the HCCC has jurisdiction to examine, rather than all complaintsmade against
Health Service Providers
that have no clinical management or care impacts on a client of a health practitioner. This complaint by Mr McLeodis one being made about the general information distribution activities of the AVN which has no bearing on the individual treatment and care management
regime that a health practitioner may give to his or her client, and cannottherefore meet the criteria for jurisdiction set down under section 7. Alternatively, if the HCCC rejects our reading of section 7 and considers that ithas jurisdiction to deal with this complaint by Mr McLeod then it is our submission that, having regard to all the circumstances and the matters raisedin the attached response provided by us, it is a complaint that the HCCCshould decline to entertain for the purposes of section 20(1) of the Act. This isbecause:1. The activities of the AVN are nothing more than a legitimate expressionof the implied right of political expression and communication sanctionedand protected under the Australian constitution. We have established inthe enclosed response that all information provided by the AVN on itswebsite and in other publications is reasonable and responsible, giventhe state of scientific research and conclusions on the matters which weseek to debate and discuss. To silence such discussion and debatewould be to use the Act in a manner that offends section 7 and 24 of the Australian Constitution and would render the Act invalid on constitutionalgrounds;2. Mr McLeod is abusing the resources and powers of the HCCC (andthrough it the NSW Government) by wrongfully seeking to use thecomplaints process under the Act as a weapon in his inexplicable andobsessive campaign of harassment and intimidation against the AVN. Mr McLeod is engaging in an abuse of process, wasting of governmentresources and seeking to use the Act for an improper purpose. Thus thecomplaint is one that is vexatious and not brought in good faith for thepurposes of section 27(1)(a) of the Act.3. The complaints are nothing more than a personally based disagreementwith the stances being taken by the AVN in certain health policydebates. Although the complainant may not agree with us, this shouldnot entitle him to procure the "gagging" or silencing of our right toexpress such views. Neither I nor the AVN disseminate any medical or clinical advice directed to patients with any particular ailment or conditionand Mr McLeod has produced no evidence to that effect. Thus thesecomplaints are of a petty and trivial nature (for the purposes of section27(1)(b) of the Act) which do not give rise to any significant issue of public health or safety sufficient to warrant investigation by the HCCC.We note that in the second reading speech for the
Health Care Complaints Bill 
 made in the NSW Parliament by the Hon. R. J. Webster (Minister for Planning,and Minister for Housing), on behalf of the Hon. Virginia Chadwick onThursday 18 November 1993 the objective of the Bill was expressed to be
"tofacilitate the dissemination of information about clients' rights throughout thehealth system" 
[at page 5642]. It is submitted that the role that the AVN playsin the political discourse is precisely that, to give people information that theymay not be getting from other sources in the health care system. To seek tosilence the voice of the AVN is shameful and disappointing.

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