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Australian Health Review Australian Health Review Society
Journal of the Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association

Clinical innovation and scope of practice regulation: a case study of the Charlie Teo decision

Jill Walsh A B * , Sharon Downie A B , Eric Windholz C , Andrea Kirk-Brown D and Terry P. Haines B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Medical Workforce Unit, The Royal Children’s Hospital, Vic., Australia.

B School of Primary and Allied Health Care, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, 47–49 Moorooduc Highway, Frankston, Vic. 3199, Australia.

C Faculty of Law, Monash University, 15 Ancora Imparo Way, Clayton Campus, Vic. 3800, Australia.

D Monash Business School, Monash University, Level 4, Building D room 22, Peninsula Campus, 47-49 Moorooduc Highway, Frankston, Vic. 3199, Australia.

* Correspondence to:

Australian Health Review 48(1) 91-94
Submitted: 19 August 2023  Accepted: 5 December 2023  Published: 22 December 2023

© 2024 The Author(s) (or their employer(s)). Published by CSIRO Publishing on behalf of AHHA.


The issue of regulation of scope of practice (SOP) has recently been highlighted through the high-profile case of New South Wales-based neurosurgeon, Mr Charles Teo and specifically the finding of ‘unsatisfactory professional conduct’ by the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) in Teo, Charles (2023) NSWMPSC 2 (12 July 2023). The HCCC decision went to two issues in Teo’s practice: (1) his decision to perform a surgery not within the SOP of his profession [at 238]; and (2) his failure to gain patient informed consent for that surgery [at 245]. This paper explores the findings against Teo with respect to SOP and recommends a nuanced approach to the regulation of clinical innovation and SOP evolution.

Keywords: ethics, health law, health policy, practice innovation, quality and safety, scope of practice, workforce.


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