LawAnswers.com.au - Australia's #1 Legal Community

LawAnswers.com.au is a community of 10,000+ Australians, just like you, helping each other.
Ask a question, respond to a question and better understand the law today!
Join us, it only takes a minute:

QLD Student Dietitian - Can I Charge Money for Consultations?

Discussion in 'Other/General Law Forum' started by Anonymous Anna, 15 September 2014.

  1. Anonymous Anna

    Joined:
    15 September 2014
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am a near the end of my Dietetics degree and hoping to get some experience as a student. I am planning on charging a very low price for consultations and make it clear that I am just a STUDENT. Is this ok or do I need some kind of insurance under Australian Law? Or should I get the client to sign a form saying they are aware of the fact that I am a student?
     
  2. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    16 April 2014
    Messages:
    2,300
    Likes Received:
    335
    Hi Anonymous Anna,

    Often legislations will dictate that members of certain occupation must be qualified and registered in order to practice. This often involves proving that they have the necessary skills as well as the necessary legal safeguards such as the relevant insurances. It does not appear there is any such law applying to dietitians or nutritionists.

    The Nutrition Australia website states that: http://www.nutritionaustralia.org/national/resource/nutritionist-or-dietitian
    "In Australia, professional nutritional practice is not regulated by the government, and there is no legal protection over the terms ‘Nutritionist’ and ‘Dietitian’ – anyone can call themselves a Nutritionist or Dietitian, no matter their level of training."

    Assuming this is the case, I would therefore recommend that you simply get a good disclaimer that acknowledges that you are a student and do not yet hold qualifications and that you have no professional liability insurance (it would be ideal to have insurance, but I imagine since you are not charging much for consultations its likely out of the question). You can buy a basic health disclaimer at this website http://www.lawanswers.com.au/legal-documents/online-business-website-legal-package-for-australia.7/- they can also be customised to accommodate your specific circumstances. Maybe start with that.
     
    rebeccag and Anonymous Anna like this.
  3. Anonymous Anna

    Joined:
    15 September 2014
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Excellent, thank you Sophea, that is very helpful! I will try that!
    Cheers, Anna
     
  4. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

    Joined:
    28 April 2014
    Messages:
    1,722
    Likes Received:
    404
    1. If you set yourself up in a business
      and hold yourself out to be competent in a certain field
      (even an unregulated one) then (no matter your intent),
      section 18(1) of the Australian Consumer Law will be in play.
      The amount you charge for what you do is irrelevant.

    2. The tort of negligence will be ever present.
      Failing to acquire recognised (even if not mandatory) qualifications
      before staring work in this field is not exactly acting
      with due care, skill, and attention, is it?

    3. As a commercial reality, and as a matter of their own good practice
      and risk management, you'll probably need to be an APD
      before Medicare, DVA, and most of the private health funds, will deal with you.

    4. Ask yourself if this is a reasonable way
      for a responsible member of your profession to act.
      Your profession may not have many specific laws around it,
      but it does have ethics.

    5. Assuming you can find an insurer, you may have to pay a higher premium
      as an unqualified lay person (which until you finish your training, you are)
      than if you hold the relevant competency.

    6. Ask yourself how you will feel in five years time,
      when, after all the work you have put in to become qualified,
      some unqualified amateur sets up next door.
      And undercuts you on price!
     
  5. Anonymous Anna

    Joined:
    15 September 2014
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you for your help Tim! I am held back by these concerns - particularly negligence, so having them set out clearly is very helpful.
    Point #6 is a constant issue in my unregulated field... there will always be amateurs with out any qualifications undercutting those who have put in the work. Moments of weakness finds me considering joining them rather than fighting them.
     
  6. Anonymous Anna

    Joined:
    15 September 2014
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Regarding points #1 and 2, would it be considered a lack of due care and attention if I give consultations for free? The main thing I am after is experience, which is increasingly difficult to find in the health industry. Still possibly unethical?
     
  7. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

    Joined:
    28 April 2014
    Messages:
    1,722
    Likes Received:
    404
    It is possible to be negligent even when you don't charge for something, yes.
    As I said above, the amount you charge is irrelevant.
    DAA's Code of professional Conduct is here:
    http://daa.asn.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/2013-Code-of-Professional-Conduct-member-and-APD.pdf
    and
    DAA's Statement of Ethical Practice is here:
    http://daa.asn.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/2013-Statement-of-Ethical-Practice-Member-and-APD.pdf
    The decision, however, about whether or not what you propose
    is professional and ethical by those measures, is yours.
     

Share This Page

Loading...