BN Health Forum: Healthcare for Children

event information
Thursday, 16 May 2019
Forum sessions: 3pm - 6pm I Drinks and canapes: 6pm - 9pm
GOMA Brisbane,  Stanley Place, South Brisbane
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    Following the final session, attendees are invited to continue the conversation over drinks and canapes on the Pavilion Balcony.

    If you have any questions, please get in touch with the BN Events team at

The BN Health Forum: Big Ideas for Health Professionals is back again to tackle health from a different perspective.

Providing healthcare to children can present a range of complex and unique legal issues. At times it involves significant controversy. Our May Forum will explore topics such as parental rights, Gillick competence and whether children should have more say in the treatment decisions that affect them. And we’ve put together another impressive line-up of speakers - more details below!

This is a must-attend event for professionals working in or alongside healthcare who want to stay up-to-date on trends and issues affecting the sector. Each session is optional – attend all or pick and choose. But be quick, registration is free of charge and places are limited.


  • Session 1: How do doctors assess whether a child can consent to medical treatment?

    Presented by BN's Samantha Pillay and Melissa Carius

    Gillick competence is a term that originated in England following the House Of Lords decision in Gillick v West Norfolk and Wisebech Area Health Authority 1985 UKHL 7.

    The legal test is one directed to deciding whether a child (under the age of 16) is able to consent to his or her own medical treatment without the need for parental permission or knowledge.

    The law is not without controversy. Nor difficulty for the medical practitioner. In this session we will discuss and give practical tips on how doctors can assess whether a child is Gillick competent.

  • Session 2: Should children be more involved in healthcare decisions that affect them?

    Panel discussion moderated by BN's Rob Samut, with panellists:

    • Dr Otilie Tork
    • Dr Amelia Stephens
    • Keely Johnson

    It has now been 30 years since the UN drafted the Convention on the Rights of the Child stating that children have the right to be heard in all matters affecting their lives. However, while there has been significant progress in the promotion and respect of children’s rights generally, the area of healthcare can be complex. From the baby that is held down while a paediatrician syringes his ears to the 16 year old discussing contraception with her GP, a child’s ability to understand relevant information and make decisions about medical treatment evolves over time. This engaging session will examine the question of children’s involvement in their own healthcare decisions from different perspectives and highlight some of the key issues and challenges.

  • Session 3: The ABC of parental rights and children’s welfare

    Presented by Kathryn McMillan QC

    In our final session we will be joined by Kathryn McMillan QC to explore the complex legal issues encountered by many healthcare providers when treating children, particularly adolescents. Kathryn will discuss issues surrounding parental rights, who has proper responsibility with a focus on when the parents are separated or if there is suspected abuse, and the departments’ involvement with child protection orders.

    With an impressive 30+ years’ admission experience at the bar, and having acted as senior counsel assisting the Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection, Kathryn has extensive practical experience to educate and enlighten us on the legal challenges regularly faced by healthcare providers.

Meet our speakers

  • Kathryn McMillan QC

    With an impressive 30+ years’ admission experience at the bar, Kathryn is an Adjunct Professor at the T.C. Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland and an arbitrator mediator. She has served on a number of Boards including the Psychologists Board, Mental Health Tribunal, Anti-Discrimination Tribunal, and has served as Chair of the Family Law Panel of the Queensland Bar Association. Kathryn was the Commissioner for the Youth Detention Review in 2016 and she has acted as counsel assisting in Coronial Inquests and as counsel for the Medical Board in Queensland’s Public Hospitals Commission of Inquiry, and senior counsel assisting the Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection.
  • Dr Otilie Tork

    Dr Otilie Tork is the Developmental Paediatrician, Associate Medical Director, Learning and Workforce at Queensland Children’s Hospital, as well as a Senior Staff Specialist Paediatrician in the Child Protection and Forensic Medical Service. She also works as a private developmental/behavioural paediatrician at the Child Development Network. Dr Tork’s professional interests include medical neglect and the care of children in out-of-home care.

    After graduating from UNSW in 1995, she carried out the majority of her paediatric training at Sydney Children’s Hospital and has worked in the area of child protection since 2001 in New South Wales and regional and metropolitan Queensland.

    Dr Tork is a member of the Queensland Paediatric Quality Council (Infant Mortality Review Team) and an invited stakeholder at the QCH Clinical Ethics Consultation Service for relevant hospital cases. She is also Senior Lecturer at UQ’s School of Medicine where she enjoys teaching medical students and junior doctors.

  • Dr Amelia Stephens

    Dr Amelia Stephens is a Brisbane based GP with special interest in both Women's Health and Nutritional/Integrative Medicine, though loves all aspects of being a GP. She is also an avid blogger, sharing life experiences and her health and medical insights with her considerable online following.

    Prior to completing her medical degree at the University of Queensland in 2011, Amelia also gained a Bachelor of Science with majors in Biomedical Science and Physiology in 2007. She completed her specialist General Practice training in 2016, and is a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, as well as current RACGP QLD Council member, supporting the work and education of GPs in QLD.

  • Keely Johnson

    Keely Johnson is an emerging young country singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, motivational speaker, and childhood cancer patient.

    Keely has battled childhood cancer for seven years, endured 60+ rounds of chemo, and her recent relapse resulted in her 6th brain surgery and 30th round of radiation. Throughout her journey, Keely says “she had plenty of time to think about the things in life she wanted to help and make a difference to”. The concept of Golden Octopus Foundation was born as Keely saw a need for an Australian charity to cover all eight types of childhood cancer. The Golden Octopus Foundation raises money to help with research, access to trials that children may never get, and improved regional area facilities to allow patients and their families to focus on treatments without the need to travel.

    Keely has been awarded the Queensland Young Achiever Award in 2017 and 2018 and was nominated for Young Australian of the Year 2017.

    As a voice of childhood cancer, Keely has thousands of families looking up to her as symbol of hope for their children that no matter what life throws at you, you can still follow your dreams. Her charity helps families right across Australia and is aiming to implement childhood cancer nurses across Australia in the near future.

  • Robert Samut

    Rob Samut heads the firm’s national Health Law practice. He works with large hospital groups, insurers and large corporates in the defence of medico-legal and other claims, regulatory and disciplinary proceedings, and in providing general and risk management advice. Rob has an excellent understanding of the operations of large hospitals, including the management of public health claims, and has achieved outstanding outcomes in highly publicised matters.

  • Melissa Carius

    Melissa specialises in medical negligence claims, OHO and AHPRA matters, and Coronial investigations and inquests involving health care professionals. With her clients including hospitals, doctors, medical indemnity insurers and aged care providers, she regularly advises on complex liability, quantum and strategic issues. Melissa has a particular interest in the issues surrounding consent for medical treatment involving minors.

    Alongside her role as a Senior Associate in the Insurance & Health team, Melissa has become an integral member of BN’s training program for insurance professionals, Elevista. She has presented on issues relating to general legal principles and also specific to insurance.

  • Samantha Pillay

    Since joining BN’s Insurance and Health team in 2005 with a background in litigation, Samantha’s practice has evolved to focus on health law and professional negligence.

    Sam specialises in medical malpractice and professional indemnity litigation, coronial inquests, Office of Health Ombudsman and AHPRA matters, Medicare audits and reviews, privacy complaints and assisting hospitals with internal investigations. Sam is particularly interested in issues surrounding consent and substitute decision making, and the challenges faced by clinicians in the areas of emergency medicine and children’s health. Her clients include medical indemnity insurers, public and private hospitals, medical, radiology and pathology practices and other healthcare professionals.

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