APHRA – A Re-Think

APHRA – A Re-Think

April 20, 2015

I had an interesting discussion with a member of the Medical Board expressing my concern about board procedures, in particular review visits. He mentioned that this was a real dilemma and there was some uncertainty amongst members of the Medical Board about how best to proceed with what is clearly a very important issue. The issue is highlighted by a paper on the website entitled:

Prevalence and characteristics of complaint-prone doctors in private practice in Victoria:  Marie M Bismark, Matthew J Spittal and David M Studdert MJA 2011; 195: 25–2

Among doctors in private practice in Victoria, 20.5% had at least one complaint over the decade (to the Victorian Health Services Commissioner). Among doctors who were the subject of a complaint, 4.5 had four or more complaints, and this group accounted for 17.6% of all complaints. Surgeons and psychiatrists had higher odds of being in the complaint-prone group than general practitioners. Doctors trained overseas had lower odds of being complaint-prone than those trained in Australia.

The Medical Board has extensive data about a small group of doctors, possibly less than 5% who are subject to multiple notifications. The problem with many of these notifications is that they are difficult to establish. The concern of the Medical Board is the frequency of similar complaints regarding the same doctor. The question is what can be done in the interests of the public and to some extent the interests of the profession. Recently developed has been here review visits these are clearly problematical, the question is what else can be done? I began to see APHRA in a more positive light.


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