More action regarding complaints against medical practitioners

More action regarding complaints against medical practitioners

March 23, 2016

There has been action on two fronts with regard to reviewing the current system of medical complaints. The Senate has established a wide ranging review (see below) and AHPRA has provided some insights into a KPMG independent review of that system and processes for managing notifications in Victoria. I reckon I could have written this in my coffee break. It includes such mind-boggling new ideas such as:
better risk assessment
Management of high-risk matters
greater transparency
You will notice that the item to do with “culture” refers to ” address perceptions of being pro-practitioner”. That has certainly not been our experience. Our experiences that you are guilty until proven innocent.
These are astonishing glimpses of the obvious. Go to the section below to read the full document.

On 2 February 2016, the Senate referred the following matter to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report:

The medical complaints process in Australia.

The terms of reference are:

  1. the prevalence of bullying and harassment in Australia’s medical profession;
  2. any barriers, whether real or perceived, to medical practitioners reporting bullying and harassment;
  3. the roles of the Medical Board of Australia, the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency and other relevant organisations in managing investigations into the professional conduct (including allegations of bullying and harassment), performance or health of a registered medical practitioner or student;
  4. the operation of the Health Practitioners Regulation National Law Act 2009 (the National Law), particularly as it relates to the complaints handling process;
  5. whether the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme, established under the National Law, results in better health outcomes for patients, and supports a world-class standard of medical care in Australia;
  6. the benefits of ‘benchmarking’ complaints about complication rates of particular medical practitioners against complication rates for the same procedure against other similarly qualified and experienced medical practitioners when assessing complaints;
  7. the desirability of requiring complainants to sign a declaration that their complaint is being made in good faith; and
  8. any related matters.

Submissions should be received by 13 May 2016. The reporting date is 23 June 2016.

Committee Secretariat contact:

Committee Secretary
Senate Standing Committees on Community Affairs
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: +61 2 6277 3515
Fax: +61 2 6277 5829

AHPRA has provided some insights into the findings of a KPMG independent review of its system and processes for managing notifications in Victoria.

The report recommends actions in five main areas, including a more systematic, data informed approach to risk assessing notifications:

  1. Better risk assessment: need to embed a more systematic, data informed approach to risk assessing notifications not only taking account of the information which is outlined in the notification, but also factors such as a practitioner’s history of notifications, their practice context and who made the notification.
  2. Management of high risk matters: more intensively apply resources to higher-risk notifications, so these cases are investigated thoroughly but quickly.
  3. Greater transparency: interpret and use the National Law flexibly, not narrowly, to support information sharing in the public interest and promote greater understanding and transparency of what we do.
  4. Culture: address perceptions of being pro-practitioner and shift this perception through cultural change, with a greater emphasis on service. We need to drive an open and transparent organisational culture with a clear balance between the interest of patients, public safety and the practitioner to ensure our service culture balances the rights and needs of all stakeholders.
  5. Performance: continue to critically evaluate the causes of delays, especially for high risk and complex cases.




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