Advertisement

Notification and Disease Control: Obligations of the Medical Practitioner Under Public Health Legislation

  • Mark J. Ferson
Reference work entry

Abstract

Effective disease control requires a strong partnership between clinicians and public health personnel. The vital role medical practitioners play is reflected globally in the obligation under health legislation for medical practitioners to notify the public health authority of specific details of named patients suspected of having these diseases. While the principle is universal that the notification include the identity of the patient, to allow prompt and direct public health action, if needed, jurisdictions have varying approaches to many other aspects of notification: the actual list of notifiable conditions; who must notify and based on what degree of diagnostic certainty; in what timeframe and with what specific details; what information is to be provided to the case; and who bears responsibility for contact tracing. In addition, in some jurisdictions, medical practitioners have associated statutory obligations and powers, related to the examination of a patient directed for assessment by the public health authority, the furnishing of reports of such examinations, the role of the practitioner in ordering a patient into isolation, and responsibilities of medical practitioners in public health emergencies. Following a concise historical survey, finishing with the impact of the International Health Regulations 2005, this chapter systematically discusses the statutory obligations of medical practitioners for disease notification and related provisions, taking examples from English-language public health legislation used in Oceania, Europe, North America, Asia, and Africa.

Keywords

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Medical Practitioner Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Public Health Authority Public Health Emergency 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. 1.
    Gensini GF, Yacoub MH, Conti AA. The concept of quarantine in history: from plague to SARS. J Infect. 2004;49:257–62.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Poor Law Commissioners. Report on the sanitary condition of the labouring population of Great Britain, 1842. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press; 1965.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Hamlin C, Sheard S. Revolutions in public health: 1848, and 1998? Br Med J. 2003;326:345–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    McCormick A. The notification of infectious diseases in England and Wales. Commun Dis Rep Rev. 1993;3:R19–25.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Thompson JA. Notification of infectious diseases. Br Med J. 1882;28:860–1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Rodier G, Hardiman M, Plotkin B, Ganter B. Implementing the International Health Regulations (2005) in Europe. Eurosurveillance Monthly Release. December 2006. Available at http://www.eurosurveillance.org/em/v11n12/1112-222.asp. Accessed 1 Jan 2007.
  7. 7.
    Wilson K, McDougall C, Upshur R. The new International Health Regulations and the federalism dilemma. PLoS Med. 2006;3(1):e1. doi:10:1371/journal.pmed.00300001.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Allen CJ, Ferson MJ. Notification of infectious diseases by general practitioners: a quantitative and qualitative study. Med J Aust. 2000;172:325–8.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Public Health, England. The Health Protection (Notification) Regulations 2010, clause 2(1)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    New South Wales. Public Health Act 2010, section 57.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Republic of South Africa Department of Health. National Health Act, 2003, Regulations relating to communicable diseases. Staatskoerant, 13 April 2010, p. 18.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Turning Point. Model state public health act, September 2003, section 5–103, p. 28–9.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Henderson J, Britt H, Miller G. Extent and utilsation of computerisation in Australian general practice. Med J Aust. 2006;185:84–7.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    New York State Department of Health. Amendment of Part 63 of Title 10, HIV/AIDS testing, reporting and confidentiality of HIV related information. http://www.health.ny.gov/regulations/public_health_law/part_63/docs/amended_part63.pdf. Accessed 6 Oct 2012.
  15. 15.
    It’s the law. What is? Body Posit. 1999;12(3):20–1.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Coker R, Thomas M, Lock K, Martin R. Detention and the evolving threat of tuberculosis: evidence, ethics and law. J Law Med Ethics. 2007;35:609–15.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Senanayake SN, Ferson MJ. Detention for tuberculosis: public health and the law. Med J Aust. 2004;180:573–6.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Conaty S. Detention to prevent transmission of tuberculosis: a proportionate public health response. NSW Public Health Bull. 2012;23:120–1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Duncan K. Lessons from the 1918 Spanish flu. Part I. Available at http://www.riskinstitute.org/peri/images/file/Lessons_from_1918_PartI.pdf. Accessed 7 Oct 2012.
  20. 20.
    Imai T, Takahashi K, Hoshuyama T, Naoki Hasegawa N, Lim M-K, Koh D. SARS risk perceptions in healthcare workers, Japan. Emerg Infect Dis. 2005;11:404–10.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Masur H, Emanuel E, Lane HC. Severe acute respiratory syndrome: providing care in the face of uncertainty. J Am Med Assoc. 2003;289:2861–3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Public Health UnitSouth Eastern Sydney Local Health DistrictRandwickAustralia
  2. 2.School of Public Health & Community MedicineUniversity of New South WalesKensingtonAustralia
  3. 3.Sydney School of MedicineUniversity of Notre Dame AustraliaDarlinghurstAustralia

Personalised recommendations