‘Gayle’s Law’ – outback nurses to be accompanied on after-hours call-outs in SA

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The State Govt has issued its draft bill of ‘Gayle’s Law’ bill which will require outback nurses to be accompanied by a second person to appointments or emergencies at night and on weekends in response to the 2015 murder of nurse Gayle Woodford.

The law would ensure that remote health professionals could not be sued or face professional disciplinary action if they refuse to attend after-hours call-outs without a ‘second responder’ – protection for the care worker but also protection for the operator.

However, the Nick Xenophon Team has suggested the law does not go far enough. “For example, the fact it will only apply out of hours, yet we know remote area nurses are attending dangerous call-outs at any time of the day,” Senator Skye Kakoschke-Moore told Adelaide Now.

The paper also hints the law will be a ‘toothless tiger’. Remote health services that fail to enforce the law will only be reported to parliament for ongoing failure to meet the requirements.

There’s also no word on how services will fund this ‘second responder’ – a costly exercise for many regional and remote providers that already struggle to attract staff.