With over 25 years of corporate, commercial and regulatory experience, Alison has specialised in advising clients in the health, aged care, disability, life sciences and community sectors. Alison leads the firm's Health & Community industry group.
Her clients include public and private hospital operators and health care providers, private health insurers, biotechnology, pharmaceutical and aged care/retirement living, NDIS and not-for-profit and government clients.
Alison appreciates that issues for health care providers often require urgent attention and she makes herself available to her clients whenever needed. Alison has a passion and dedication to the sector which goes way beyond just being a lawyer in private practice – she strives to become the trusted advisor of her clients. As a result, Alison has nurtured long-term client relationships, some over 17 years. She also provides ongoing support for various industry associations and has enthusiastically taken positions within the Industry.
She is the Company Secretary for the National Foundation for Medical Research and Innovation and the Asia Pacific Regional Forum Liaison Officer, Healthcare and Life Sciences Law Committee of the International Bar Association. Alison is also on the Australia Chinese Business Council (NSW) Health & Ageing Subcommittee.
Alison was previously General Counsel for Ramsay Health Care Limited and was awarded the ACHSM President’s Award for her contribution to and support of the Australian College of Health Service Management. She was formerly Company Secretary of Research Australia and on the risk committee of St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney, as well as on the Institutional Ethics Committees of Northern Sydney Local Health District and South Eastern Sydney Local Health District.
Alison is a market leader, having been listed in The Best Lawyers in Australia (and the Australian Financial Review) for Health & Aged Care and Biotechnology since 2008. She has been recognised in the Doyle’s Guide to the Australian Legal Profession as a Leading Health and Aged Care Lawyer in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Alison has been a finalist for the Lawyers Weekly Partner of the Year in Health every year since 2016 and won this prestigious award in 2019.
- Mergers and acquisitions – Alison has advised many health and aged care clients on mergers and acquisitions including being part of the team on Ramsay’s $1.4 billion acquisition of Affinity Health, assisted as part of the team acting for Aged and Community Services (NSW) merger to form ACSA, acting for Primary Health Care on the purchase and sale of Transport Health, acting for Generic Health on the purchase of Bellwether Pharma and the sale of a day procedure centre for Day Stay as well as the sale and purchase of various hospitals and residential aged care facilities.
- Corporate and commercial – Alison regularly prepares Constitutions, Shareholders Agreements and trust documents and advises in relation to Board and members meetings. She regularly advises clients on the establishment and incorporation of charities and drafts and negotiates commercial contracts such as funding agreements, service agreements, outsourcing agreements and website standard terms and conditions. Alison has previously advised NSW Government on whole of State IT outsourcing contracts, using GITC and Procure IT. Alison acts for a number of clients on e-health projects, she is a member of the Digital Advisory Committee of Healthdirect Australia, owned by Commonwealth and State Government.
- Infrastructure – Alison has drafted and negotiated corporate and project documents for a number of private hospital projects, including the construction of North Shore Private Hospital, Flinders Private Hospital, Mildura Base Hospital and Macquarie University Private Hospital. Alison acted for NSW Health and Sydney Local Health District on the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse Project, the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network on the new Ronald McDonald House at Westmead and for NSW Health and South Western Sydney Local Health District on the Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research. These include the establishment of SPVs. Members Deeds, incorporated joint ventures; security documents and Deeds of Priority. She acted for the NSW Lifetime Care and Support Authority (now iCare) on the Sargood Centre, Collaroy, NSW.
- Regulatory – advising on regulatory requirements including:
- The Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (Cth), associated regulations and the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code, including the registration/listing, manufacture, supply, marketing, distribution and labelling of therapeutic goods (including medicines, medical devices and complementary medicines). Alison was for many years the preferred legal advisor for NSW Health on clinical trial agreements and research governance. She acted for Baxter Healthcare on the worldwide recall of intralipid solutions compounded in Australia and for another client in relation to the recall of baby paracetamol;
- The Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth) and regulations, including residents agreements, user rights principles, accreditation and quality standards, security of tenure and CDC;
- Retirement living legislation, including village contracts, recurrent charges and termination;
- National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 (Cth)
- The Private Health Insurance Act 2007 (Cth) and the Private Health Insurance (Prudential Supervision) Act 2015 (Cth) and associated regulations and rules, including advising on the registration of private health insurers and CHIPs compliance as well as prudential requirements;
- The Health Insurance Act 1973 (Cth) – including Medicare audits and prohibited diagnostic imaging and pathology practices; and
- Legislation regulating private and public hospitals; and
- Health Practitioner Regulation National Law and Codes of Practice.
- Corporate and clinical governance and risk management – Advising on corporate and clinical governance issues and regulatory compliance. Alison conducted a corporate and clinical governance review for RSL LifeCare arising from the Bergin Inquiry. Her recommendations were included in the final Government Report. Alison was previously a member of the risk management committees of Ramsay Health Care Limited and St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney Limited.
- Commissions of Inquiry – Alison has represented a number of health and aged care providers before Government Commissions of Inquiry and coronial inquests including:
- Acting for over 16 approved providers in the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia;
- Providing recommendations which were included in the Bergin Report following the Public Inquiry under the Charitable Fundraising Act (NSW 2017-2018);
- Acting for a client in relation to the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into off protocol prescribing of chemotherapy in NSW (2017); and
- Acting for a public hospital before the Independent Commission Against Corruption Investigation into corrupt conduct involving alleged fraud on Two Sydney Hospitals (Project Charity) (2011).
- Privacy – drafting privacy policies, advising on privacy complaints and serious data breaches – Alison acted for NeHTA (now the National Digital Health Agency) on privacy issues concerning Australia’s Personal Electronic Health Record (now known as My health Record). She has also represented for hospitals on various privacy cases.
Lawyers Weekly 2019 Women in Law AwardsFinalist – Partner of the Year
Best Lawyers in AustraliaPartner – Biotechnology Law, Health & Aged Care Law
Lawyers Weekly – Partner of the Year AwardsWinner, Health Partner of the Year
Thinking | 1 Apr 2020
COVID-19 has presented a number of regulatory and legal challenges for the Australian health and aged care sector. This article summarises some of the support provided by the Australian Government sector, as well as some of the regulatory restrictions involved in operating a health or aged care facility, including hospitals.
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