Patient Review Panel telehealth is OK for Victorian surrogacy counselling
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
The Victorian Patient Review Panel (which gives approval for Victorian surrogacy arrangements) has written to infertility counsellors in Victoria saying that they can undertake surrogacy counselling via telehealth. HOORAY!
Previously the PRP has always been insistent that this counselling occur face to face.
I am glad that this commonsense approach has been adopted in light of Government guidelines about COVID-19 and the strong statements from the Federal Government for doctors and allied health (including psychologists) to use telehealth where possible.
The publicly stated position of the Patient Review Panel is:
Manner of counselling
While Panel understands that it is not always possible to conduct all counselling in face‑to-face sessions, it has a strong preference that the parties to the arrangement have received at least one face‑to-face session each and one face-to-face group session. Where counselling is not conducted in face-to-face sessions, it should be done via videoconferencing (e.g. Skype) rather than via telephone.
Clinic counsellors should ensure that all parties to the arrangement are provided with, and have read, the counselling report before making an application to the Panel.
I hope that the Panel will now also use video or phone conferencing, such as Zoom, to be consistent with Government health requirements – instead of its insistence in the past of in person hearings.