Award for Peter Mac legal
(Back) Baker and McKenzie Partner
Kenneth Gray, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre Social Work Department’s Alison
Hocking, Chief Executive Officer Craig Bennett, Corporate Relationship Manager
Jemimah Pentland (front) Peter Mac Social Work Department’s Hamlata Bhana and
Elizabeth Ballinger (Department Head) and Baker and McKenzie Associate Vanya
Kumar with the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards award.
The Peter MacCallum Cancer
Centre has received an Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS) award
for its world-first Cancer Patients’ Legal Assistance Program conducted in
collaboration with law firm Baker and McKenzie.
The annual ACHS Quality
Improvement Awards acknowledge outstanding achievement in activities, programs,
projects and strategies in health care organisations.
Peter Mac was recognised in the
non-clinical service delivery category.
Pro bono lawyers for the Peter
MacCallum Cancer Foundation, Baker and McKenzie in 2006 established a service
for patients who needed expert legal assistance falling outside the purview of
Legal Aid but were not financially able to employ professional services.
The service includes early
access to superannuation, Powers of Attorney, insurance claims and unfair
Gaye Barnwall, 52, who gained
early access to her superannuation through the service, expressed her gratitude
to Baker and McKenzie lawyers and Peter Mac’s social work team for alleviating
the significant anxiety she experienced in trying to deal with her legal
‘Being diagnosed with cancer of
the larynx on top of my existing multiple sclerosis was devastating,’ Mrs
‘My husband had to take so much
time off work to care for me and the financial pressure was enormous.
‘We didn’t have the energy to
take on a fight for access to the superannuation we needed so much.
‘The patient legal service
stepped in and had it sorted out for me in no time.
‘Having the extra funds
available to help relieved a huge burden,’ Mrs Barnwall said.
Chief Executive Officer Craig
Bennett saw the Peter Mac was very proud of its highly innovative and acclaimed
‘The 68 people that benefited
from free legal support in the first 12 months of
the program have experienced
great relief from the normal stress and worry associated with a cancer
journey,’ he said.
The ACHS is Australia’s leading
health care accreditation agency and is recognised by the International Society
for Quality in Health Care for both its standards and accreditation program.
More than 1,000 individual
hospitals and health care organisations across Australia are members of ACHS
quality improvement programs.