BN Health Forum - Making it Happen: The Delivery of Healthcare

event information
Thursday, 5 May 2022
Forum sessions: 3pm - 6pm I Drinks and canapes: 6pm - 9pm
GOMA Brisbane,  Stanley Place, South Brisbane

After a COVID imposed break, BN’s Health Forum: Big Ideas for Health Professionals is back!

What does a cardiac patient in Windorah have in common with an Indian child with polio in the 1980s? Does a 10 bed regional health facility owe the same duty of care as a metropolitan tertiary hospital? And how can an entire hospital be moved across town without disrupting critical patient care? This year’s Health Forum focuses on the delivery of healthcare - from the epic global effort of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout to general practice recall and reminder systems, a healthcare system is only as effective as its ability to deliver.

As always, we will be joined by an impressive line-up of industry experts who will share their views, experiences and stories, and help us explore this topic from all angles. You can meet our speakers below.

BN’s Health Forum is a must-attend event for all professionals working in or alongside healthcare who want to stay up-to-date on the 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.

Following the final session, attendees are invited to continue the conversation over drinks and canapes on the Pavilion Balcony.


  • Session 1: The Legal Defibrillator: Delivering the Shock to Healthcare Defences

    Presented by BN's Diane Usback and Felicity Parkhill

    A breach of duty is not necessarily fatal to all defences.

    In our first session, we are joined by BN’s own Diane Usback and Felicity Parkhill to explore cases and factual scenarios where practicalities and logistics have revived defences in healthcare claims.

    Diane and Felicity will turn your minds to the potential application of whether a breach of duty has actually caused a patient’s loss or changed the trajectory of the potential outcome in any significant way. They will also examine whether and when there is merit in raising that a patient’s own actions or omissions contributed to the injury or loss complained of and the appetite of the Courts to reduce damages in those circumstances. This will entail review of recent case decisions in Australia and abroad where causation and contributory negligence defences have been tested, and their own claims experience and strategies have led to better outcomes where breach was conceded. Felicity and Diane will also touch on the statutory defence founded in section 35 of the Civil Liability Act 2003 (Qld), which allows public and other health authorities to raise a defence based in resourcing limitations and when that might be appropriate. Beyond that, they consider the impact of practicalities such as resources and distance on the question of whether a breach of duty has in fact occurred, noting the requirement to consider the circumstances and the burden of taking precautions.

  • Session 2: From Drones to Jabs: Challenges and Opportunities in the delivery of Healthcare 

    Panel discussion moderated by BN's Lee Lenkinski with panellists:

    • Damien Atkinson, OAM QC
    • Dr Mellissa Naidoo, Consulting Chief Health Officer at Viridis Consultants
    • Patricia Liebke, General Manager Customer and Clinical Engagement at Telstra Health
    • Selena Gomersall, Chief Advocacy Officer and Founder of Outback Futures

    Over the past two years, healthcare systems around the world have faced major logistical and operational challenges in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this is not a new issue. Effective delivery has always been essential for a healthcare system to meet the needs of its population. From workforce shortages and the tyranny of distance to the implementation of technology and the coordination of the state and federal systems, this is an area of great challenge and opportunity. Has the pandemic been a catalyst for positive change? How is technology being utilised to improve the delivery of healthcare? What key barriers remain in bringing quality healthcare to regional, remote and indigenous communities?

    Our expert panel will bring a variety of perspectives to an engaging discussion about the challenges and opportunities in the delivery of healthcare, as well as the medico-legal risks involved.

  • Session 3: The Mobilisation of Medicine 

    Presented by Dr Rolf Gomes, Founder of Heart of Australia

    Did you know that, in Australia, if you live outside of a major city, in some areas you’re nearly twice as likely to die from heart disease? Not because we don’t have the appropriate medicines or treatments available, but because we haven’t found a way to effectively deliver those medicines and treatments that are so readily available to those living in major cities, to the people that need them in remote and rural parts of Australia.

    While the continued advancement of healthcare and medicine is vital to humanity, so too is developing effective ways of delivering healthcare and medical treatment to those that need it most.

    In his session, Dr Gomes will explore the delivery of healthcare throughout the decades, including the 30 year roll out of the polio vaccine in India, why our Aussie farmers are dying from preventable heart disease, and ultimately what led Dr Gomes to develop The Heart of Australia and The Heart Truck.

Meet our speakers

  • Dr Rolf Gomes - Heart of Australia

    Dr Rolf Gomes is a cardiologist and the Founder of Heart of Australia - a program that delivers monthly specialist medical investigation and treatment clinics to regional, rural and remote areas across Queensland, and the most innovative approach to front-line specialist medical service delivery of our time.

    Dr Gomes began his career as an electrical engineer before turning to medicine and completing his cardiology speciality training at the Prince Charles and Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital. During one of his residency rotations in a country hospital, he experienced first-hand the challenges of diagnosing and treating patients without the specialist and diagnostic services available in the city. As a cardiologist, Dr Gomes had identified the problem, but as an engineer, he sought to solve it.

    In 2014, after six years of planning and construction, Dr Gomes designed and launched the first purpose-built, self-sufficient mobile medical clinic, the Heart Bus, to deliver much needed specialist medical services to regional, rural and remote communities in Queensland.

    Since then, Heart of Australia has welcomed more than 12,000 GP-referred patients on its 8,000km monthly visits, and is now proudly servicing over 33 bush communities throughout southwest and central and far north Queensland. It has saved the lives of over 400 rural Australians by diagnosing previously undetected, critical cardiac conditions.In February 2022, Dr Gomes and the Heart of Australia team launched their fifth vehicle, HEART 5, housing the world’s first battery operated mobile CT Scanner.

    In 2021, Dr Gomes was recognised for his dedication and hard work as one of the Queensland Australian of the Year nominees. Dr Gomes is a Fellow of The Royal Australasian College of Physicians and a member of the Australian Medical Association.

  • Damien Atkinson OAM QC

    Damien studied Arts and Law at the University of Queensland and completed a Masters of Law at Cambridge, being awarded First Class honours together with the Lady Foundress’ Prize for Pembroke College. He was admitted to the Bar in 1995 and became a Nationally Accredited Mediator in 2017 before taking silk in 2018.

    His practice as counsel is varied, regularly appearing in commercial matters in the state and federal courts, as well as acting for doctors, patients and hospitals in major medicolegal litigation, acting in commissions of inquiry and inquests and appearing in general legal disputes such as property and personal injuries matters. He also has a busy practice as a mediator and is regularly engaged in that role by the private and public sectors.

    Damien is the Chair of the Human Rights Committee, Bar Association of Queensland and the Youth Advocacy Centre, Brisbane. He is also a Board Member for the Medico-Legal Society of Queensland, and the Director of Micah Projects; a not-for-profit organisation committed to providing services and opportunities, such as housing, healthcare and employment, to individuals and families in the community according to their needs and capacity.

  • Dr Mellissa Naidoo - Viridis Consultants

    Dr Mellissa Naidoo is a specialist medical administrator with over 15 years of industry experience in clinical, medical leadership and executive roles across both the public and private sectors. Dr Naidoo is a values-driven collaborative leader who is well regarded for her deep industry, health systems expertise and innovative health leadership. She is passionate about health equity and harnessing innovation and digital technology for better outcomes.

    Prior to joining Viridis Consultants as Specialist Advisor – Chief Health Officer, Dr Naidoo was the first Group Chief Medical Officer and Head of Clinical Innovation for nib health funds. Her expertise in crisis leadership, communication and genuine people focus supported nib’s proactive COVID-19 response.

    Dr Naidoo is graduate of the AICD and an experienced board director with an interest in health systems and strategy. She holds a Masters in Health Management and fellowships with the Royal Australasian College of Medical Administrators and Australasian College of Health Service Management. Dr Naidoo is also a certified health information and clinical reference lead for the Australian Digital Health Agency.

    An advocate for diversity and inclusion, she is the founder of Women & Medicine and actively involved in mentoring and training the next generation of medical leaders through her college and university roles.

  • Patricia Liebke - Telstra Health

    Patricia Liebke is the General Manager Customer and Clinical Engagement at Telstra Health as well as a registered nurse who is enthusiastic about the possibilities of digital health. Patricia’s passion is achieving seamless integration of technology and high clinical adoption that improves patient safety, quality of care and business efficiencies.

    During her career, Patricia was uniquely positioned to bring her clinical experience to the St Stephen’s Hospital eHealth project, where she ensured the engagement and adoption resulted in Australia’s first HIMSS EMRAM Stage 6 certification. She continued to lead the EMR optimisation to achieve Australia’s first HIMSS EMRAM Stage 7 certification for its inpatient electronic medical record with integrated clinical devices and data analytics.

    Prior to joining Telstra Health, Patricia was the Director of Digital Health at Northern Beaches Hospital, here Patricia led the digital health strategy. She implemented electronic medication management (eMeds), oncology information management system (OIMS) and optimised the EMR and digital systems in 14 months.

    Patricia has provided strategic direction for other digital health projects and has been a subject matter expert for numerous post-implementation reviews for other Digital Health initiatives across Australia.

    Patricia is an active member of HISA, the CXIO network, the CNIO network, Telstra Health EMR network and previously held the position of Chairman of the Cerner Regional Users Group. Patricia is well-known throughout the healthcare industry for her warmth, passion, enthusiasm, and willingness to sha re and learn to expediate the evolution of digital health.

  • Lee Lenkinski - Barry Nilsson

    Lee is a Senior Associate in BN’s Insurance & Health team, specialising in Medico-legal litigation, coronial inquests, Office of Health Ombudsman (OHO) and AHPRA matters, as well as risk management advice, internal investigations and capacity and guardianship matters.

    Lee brings nearly ten years of expertise representing healthcare professionals and healthcare institutions in a broad array of litigation matters, with a specific expertise in medical negligence litigation and professional discipline matters involving regulated health professionals.

    Prior to joining Barry Nilsson, Lee practised as a Barrister and Solicitor in Toronto, Canada. Lee began his career at a national Canadian firm, representing public hospital clients in a broad range of litigation matters. Lee then served as inhouse counsel at the largest research and teaching hospital in Canada, the University Health Network. Prior to moving to Australia, Lee developed a growing practice representing physicians, nurses, dentists and other health professionals in a range of professional discipline matters and regulatory investigations.

  • Diane Usback - Barry Nilsson

    Diane is a Special Counsel in BN’s Insurance & Health team and specialises in health law and medical negligence claims. She regularly advises and prepares submissions for health practitioners who are the subject of complaints to the Office of the Health Ombudsman and in AHPRA investigations. She also assists clients with responding to Coronial Inquests.

    During her career, Diane spent four years in London where she worked at the Treasure Solicitor’s office on behalf of the Ministry of Defence, the HM Prisons Service and the Department of Constitutional Affairs, and handled a wide variety of claims including inquests concerning deaths in custody and the death of servicemen in the Iraq war.

  • Felicity Parkhill - Barry Nilsson

    Felicity is a Senior Associate in BN’s Insurance & Health team, specialising in medical malpractice claims as well as statutory investigations and professional conduct claims made against health practitioners.

    Working with medical and allied health professionals, Felicity’s expertise extends to professional conduct matters, hearings before administrative Tribunals, and Coronial Inquiries. She is also experienced in advising on policy interpretation and coverage. Felicity has acted in claims with high quantum concerning catastrophic injury, and has an interest in complex liability claims, in particular, where causation is difficult to determine.

    Prior to joining BN, Felicity worked in both large and specialist legal practices, advising and assisting medical and allied health practitioners. She has also worked within a Medical Defence Organisation as a claims manager, and is experienced in defending civil claims and responding to complaints and statutory processes across both New South Wales and Queensland.

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