Advertising


News

‘Do not ever give up’: GP speaks out after AHPRA battle


Michelle Wisbey


16/05/2024 1:39:43 PM

The doctor is calling for sweeping changes to the watchdog, after an Ombudsman found it did not act in a timely manner or access relevant data.

Man holding a sheet of paper.
Just 35% of medical practitioners have a positive view of AHPRA.

‘It was hurtful’.
 
That was the one thought going through a regional GP’s mind when he received a notice from AHPRA, but little did he know it would be the beginning of a two-year battle.
 
Today, he is speaking out about his experience with the health watchdog, saying there is significant room for improvement when it comes to its investigations and processes.
 
‘It is crucial for doctors and other professionals to feel empowered to speak out and file complaints against AHPRA when they believe they have been wronged by regulatory authorities,’ he told newsGP.
 
For this GP, who did not wish to be named, the process began in 2022 when he was the subject of a notification from a fellow healthcare professional following a conflict over the prescription of a medication, which resulted in an investigation process being undertaken by AHPRA.
 
However, the doctor said he felt so unsatisfied with the Medical Board’s handling of the incident, he took the case to the National Health Practitioner Ombudsmen (NHPO), citing concerns over a lack of scientific evidence made available to APHRA’s decisionmakers.
 
‘I realised that if I’m right, and if I’ve done the right thing, it’s time for me to stand up for myself and put things right,’ he said.
 
‘Over the next few years, I took it on as something which needs to be put right.
 
‘My intention now is to shed light on the importance of holding regulatory bodies like AHPRA accountable for their actions.’
 
Two years after the incident began, a leaked document from the NHPO found the handling of the notification ‘could have been better’ and undertaken in a ‘timelier manner’.
 
Those NHPO findings included concerns that AHPRA and the Medical Board’s notification was vexatious and should have been explored more thoroughly.
 
It added that all information should be before the Board at the time of its decision making but did not accept that members should be expected to have knowledge of current recommendations of all medication combinations without access to the relevant databases.
 
The Ombudsman went on to remind AHPRA of the importance of contacting practitioners as soon as possible after a notification is received, and ensuring concerns are thoroughly explored.
 
It is a decision which left the GP involved pleading for change and calling on his fellow doctors never to give up.
 
‘It’s not about relief, it’s about my struggle over two years, to get things done from a perspective of an individual – a David and Goliath story,’ he said.
 
An AHPRA spokesperson told newsGP recent changes to the way it manages concerns are enabling the body to close more notifications sooner.
 
‘We know that timeliness in managing notifications is important to practitioners and notifiers. It is also important to AHPRA and National Boards,’ they said.
 
‘Together, we have undertaken a program of continuous improvement in all aspects of our regulatory functions.
 
‘We have taken note of the NHPO’s recommendation about ensuring references to guidelines, including in this case the reference to MIMs, are attached to Board agenda papers.’
 
AHPRA said it has recently undergone changes to improve its processes, including updating its case management and risk-based approaches, as well as early determination and strengthening practice teams.
 
But the GP’s concerns come after AHPRA promised to make ‘major regulatory reforms’ last year after data revealed the anxiety felt by practitioners when receiving a notification.
 
The data came as a second survey found doctors have the most negative view of AHPRA of any health practitioner group in Australia, with just 35% of medical practitioners having a positive view of AHPRA, compared with 52% overall.
 
A report collating the survey results relating to the Medical Board of Australia went on to find ‘both trust and confidence in the Board have declined since the first survey in 2018’.
 
At the time AHPRA was handling the complaint, 36% of notifications were completed in less than three months, and 29% were completed in between three and six months.
 
However, an AHPRA spokesperson said the average time taken to resolve notifications related to medical practitioners has been significantly reducing in the past year, down from 186 days to 142 days to 30 April.
 
Today, 47% of medical notifications were completed in under three months, and an additional 36% took between three and six.
 
Meanwhile, after years of stress and fighting, the GP is still encouraging his colleagues to speak up if they feel wronged.
 
‘There was a purpose in this mission, there was an aim and a reason to do this, so now, it’s not just about moving on, it’s not about closing a chapter, it’s about keeping the matter alive so I can improve things for my colleagues,’ he said.
 
‘Please, do not ever give up if you feel you’ve been wronged, take it up and go through the motions like I did.
 
‘By doing so, we can contribute to the improvement of AHPRA’s services and ensure a fair and just system for all healthcare practitioners.’
 
Log in below to join the conversation.



AHPRA National Health Practitioner Ombudsman NHPO notifications


newsGP weekly poll Would you be willing to provide a firearms health assessment for your patient?
 
8%
 
82%
 
9%
Related




newsGP weekly poll Would you be willing to provide a firearms health assessment for your patient?

Advertising

Advertising


Login to comment

Anonymous   16/05/2024 2:00:38 PM

Even Chat GPT has some suggestions for Ahpra
Improving services provided by Ahpra (Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency) can be critical for enhancing efficiency, transparency, and quality in healthcare regulation. Here are some strategies that could be considered:
Improve Communication:
Provide clear and timely communication to health practitioners about requirements, changes in regulations, and application processes.
Establish efficient channels for addressing inquiries and complaints, ensuring prompt and helpful responses.
Increase Transparency:
Make regulatory processes more transparent by clearly outlining the steps involved in registration, auditing, and complaints


Anonymous   16/05/2024 2:10:25 PM

Even Chat GPT had some suggestions for Ahpra :
Improving services provided by Ahpra (Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency) can be critical for enhancing efficiency, transparency, and quality in healthcare regulation. Here are some strategies that could be considered:
Improve Communication:
Provide clear and timely communication to health practitioners about requirements, changes in regulations, and application processes.
Establish efficient channels for addressing inquiries and complaints, ensuring prompt and helpful responses.
Increase Transparency:
Make regulatory processes more transparent by clearly outlining the steps involved in registration, auditing, and complaint handling.


Dr Anthony Tragarz   17/05/2024 11:02:18 AM

Please paste, sign and share:
https://www.aph.gov.au/e-petitions/petition/EN6113


Anonymous   17/05/2024 11:13:50 AM

Touchy issue if it's about psychotropic drugs for docs without psychiatrist supervising. Or functioning without them adequately to avoid AHPRA risk of investigation.


Anonymous   17/05/2024 11:31:55 AM

AHPRA is a disgrace to health system in Australia. Their system is unjust, partial, and leaning towards unsubstantiated claim of the patients. Everything sought for improvement in their system is a joke. They are a monopoly with no liability to any system. There should be a royal commission to check them. Every now and then, there is something about them, but it fades with time and they continue assaulting and abusing mental health of doctors


Dr Legault   17/05/2024 1:34:08 PM

How long has Dr Jereth Kok waited? More than 4 years, might be 5 years now.

https://theothercheek.com.au/jereth-kok-still-suspended-as-a-doctor-after-four-years-breaks-his-silence/


Dr Anthony Tragarz   17/05/2024 1:47:27 PM

There are good reasons for the majority of doctors to have a negative view of AHPRA.
Dr Amira Mahboub is sharing some of his gentle and pertinent reflections
in the discussion section of the recent Australian Doctor. Too long to quote it here.
Reading it may count as an Outcome Measurement Activity.


Dr Peter James Strickland   17/05/2024 4:48:32 PM

AHPRA should be shut-down as soon as possible --it has become a bureaucratic nightmare since it was started, and NOT achieved its pragmatic aim of simply registering doctors etc into every State in Australia at the same time, i.e. so doctors could move between States with ease to practice. Bring registrations of doctors back to Medical Boards in each State, and legislate that registering in any State means acceptance throughout Australia. it will be cheaper, fairer, quicker and pragmatic in decisions of remaining registered for doctors---as it was pre-AHPRA, and the decisions were almost always correct, unlike AHPRA decisions made at a distance, and without the pragmatism of local knowledge and recognizing conditions of medical practice standards in each State in various regions of that State at any time!