From rookie to returning veteran, Ms Dominique Egan joins AMA (NSW) for a second time to apply her health law expertise in house for members.
Ms Dominique Egan’s appointment as Legal Counsel to AMA (NSW) is a homecoming of sorts. Early in her career, she was hired as a legal advisor in what was then a shared position between TressCox and the AMA. Twelve months later she went to work for TressCox full time.
“I’m really looking forward to coming back to the AMA,” Ms Egan says. “Throughout my 20 years in private practice, AMA (NSW) has been one of my clients and so I’ve always worked closely with the organisation. This is an opportunity to continue to assist medical practitioners with legal and regulatory issues that arise in their practices but in a slightly different way than I’ve been able to do in private practice, and assist more with advocacy, legislative and policy reform.”
Prior to Ms Egan’s initial appointment with AMA (NSW), she worked as a paralegal at the Crown Solicitor’s office and then moved into private practice. At the time, she was looking to try a different area of law and had an open mind. When the position came up with the AMA, she jumped at the opportunity.
“My first impression of the AMA was that it was a dedicated team of people working to improve working conditions for members of the medical profession. At the time there were a number of very experienced and senior staff, from whom I learned a lot. There were also a lot of younger professionals here as well, so it was a great time to be here and I learned a lot about how the health system works in NSW, which provided a great foundation for the rest of my career.”
Ms Egan has since established a reputation as a prominent lawyer in the area of Health and Aged Care Law.
Over the last two decades, she has worked on behalf of medical and aged care associations, health and aged care facilities, health practitioners and allied health practitioners, medical defence organisations, and insurers, as a partner at TressCox Lawyers, HWL Ebsworth, and Meridian Lawyers.
As a health law specialist, she has expertise in health law and policy, unfair dismissal claims, legislative reform and compliance, employment and industrial matters, professional conduct (disciplinary) claims against health practitioners, Workplace Investigations and mediations, commercial matters, Medicare investigations and Professional Services Review inquiries and coronial inquiries.
Her current role with the AMA (NSW) will involve providing legal advice to the CEO, Board and Council. She will also provide advice to members on medico-legal and employment matters, as well as providing policy advice, including secretariat support to the Professional Issues Committee, and providing advice to AMA staff on legal and related issues. Ms Egan will also mentor and support the Professional Services team.
“I’m pleased to be able to provide advocacy and support for practitioners in private practice and those working in the hospital system…doctors do a wonderful job providing treatment and care for patients, but it is a highly regulated industry, and for good reason. But I think all of those things that practitioners have to negotiate once they start practising can be difficult to navigate and they need the support and services that AMA can provide to help them to do that.”
She says her previous experiences have taught her to celebrate the ‘little wins along the way that add up’, and that one of the most challenging aspects of helping medical practitioners can also be the most meaningful.
“The hardest part of the job is that it does take a toll on medical practitioners when things go wrong, perhaps through no fault of their own. Supporting people through that and trying to help them get through it is very rewarding.”
Going forward she sees the increasing competition for the health dollar as one of the biggest issues facing the profession. “It will continue to change medical practice – particularly private medical practice. I think that’s a challenge about the provision of services in both the private and the public sectors – how that will be funded and by whom will add to the complexity of the practice of medicine.”
Ms Egan will join AMA (NSW) from the 13 January 2020.