Proposed AHPRA changes show ‘worrying disregard’ for practitioner wellbeing

Matt Woodley

21/05/2021 4:21:24 PM

GPs are at risk of becoming scapegoats should planned amendments to national regulatory principles go ahead, an RACGP submission states.

Stressed GP reading a letter.
The notifications process has been described as ‘extremely stressful’, even in circumstances where the practitioner is found to be not at fault.

The RACGP has come out strongly against proposed amendments included in AHPRA’s revised Regulatory principles for the National Scheme.
In a submission signed by RACGP President Dr Karen Price, the college has warned the policy direction represents a worrying disregard for the wellbeing of Australia’s health practitioners.
‘The administration of registration and notifications by AHPRA and related entities can have significant consequences for GPs across Australia,’ the submission states.
‘It is an extremely stressful process and can have severe impacts on practitioner reputation and mental health, even in circumstances where the practitioner is found to be not at fault.
‘The proposed amendments serve to depreciate what few protections health practitioners have when undergoing this stressful process.’
The college is particularly concerned about the National Cabinet (formerly Council of Australian Government) Health Council’s policy direction, which states that the need for effective deterrence must ‘outweigh consideration’ for the potential impact any regulatory action has on the affected health practitioner.
‘This directive is reflected in the proposed changes to the principles, for example replacing “minimum regulatory force” with “necessary regulatory response”,’ the submission states.
‘The proposition that taking regulatory action should be aimed to “deter other practitioners from engaging in similar conduct” is concerning.
‘This stance indicates that AHPRA will in effect make a scapegoat of individual practitioners. To make an example of one person goes against the principles of natural justice.’
It goes on to indicate that the college ‘regularly’ receives feedback from GPs who view the actions of AHPRA as being ‘unnecessarily punitive’, and that members believe there is a lack of balance in the system.
‘AHPRA must assess wider health system impacts which contribute to circumstances of substandard care and ensure these are considered when deciding the appropriate response to a notification,’ the statement signed by Dr Price reads.
‘Public protection and confidence in the National Scheme are important. However, practitioners also need to be protected by, and have confidence in, the National Scheme.
‘It is perceived that the current notifications process is more focused on the prosecution of practitioners than on protecting patient safety through remediation of the issues that led to the complaint.
‘There must also be acknowledgement that many healthcare complaints arise from the need for health system reform, such as safe staffing levels.’
It concludes by pointing out the well-known mental health impact the regulatory and notifications process can have on GPs, as well as potential additional impacts on patients and the health system more broadly in terms of time and financial costs associate with ‘defensive medical practice’.
‘The adversarial nature of the notifications process can make practitioners question their clinical judgement, which could result in a range of unintended consequences such as over-use of investigations, tests and specialist referrals,’ the submission states.
‘According to human rights principles, society has a duty of care to ensure that systems and processes do not increase the likelihood of self-harm, regardless of whether an individual under investigation is at fault or not.
‘The number of doctors who attempt or die through suicide while undergoing regulatory investigation must not be disregarded.
‘While patient safety should be the prime motivation of the notifications process, our members emphasise that a lengthy process, particularly in relation to vexatious or trivial complaints, negatively affects medical practitioners’ mental health and wellbeing.
‘The RACGP sees that to put patient safety first, systems that are fair and supportive to practitioners are essential.’
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Dr Ian Donald McMillan   22/05/2021 6:43:17 AM

Having been subjected to this "process" - I can entirely agree that the effects on individuals can be devastating - being subject to the entirely impersonal "judgement" of AHPRA is truly very scaring. I do not believe that bureaucrats should not be in a position to judge us as professionals

Anonymous   22/05/2021 7:40:16 AM

As a GP who was caught up as collateral damage in an AHPRA complaint against a pharmacist, I know first hand how a complaint can create such significant distress and self-doubt, despite the reassurance of your colleagues and MDO. I still feel tainted nearly 7 years later, despite being fully exonerated. Recently a colleague was subject to a vexatious complaint, and she suffered distress for months before the matter was finally cleared. We need natural justice and the presumption of innocence from AHPRA, otherwise AHPRA will find potential doctors effectively deterred from a career in medicine, which is not the 'necessary regulatory response' our community wants or needs.

SD   22/05/2021 7:58:44 AM

Vexatious complaints and patients encouraged by staff around you due to their personal vendettas is a big concern as well. I hope a consideration is given by AHPRA and it does not become too easy to mess a life and career.

Anonymous   22/05/2021 8:46:17 AM

Finally! a Rare and too silent voice of RACGP rallying for, Standing up for So Many affected GP members re
Ahpra’s Completely UNEMPATHIC and NOT SUPPORTIVE (as claimed) AT ALL ‘Dictatorship’ with Their extremely Rushed and intimidating prosecution against many good doctors.

Doctors who are caught in their busy, exhausting patient service, of some are increased demanding and abusive!!

Any Passionate Doctor’s Life can be destroyed by a CONFIDENTIAL notification in the Invisible The complex medicolegal spiderweb Of “Patient Protection”
w AHPRA’s practical reality of nonexistent “Innocent until proven otherwise” and COMPLETE NEGLECT OF IMPACT ON HEALTH PRACTIONERS AND THEIR PATIENTS.

There is NO PRACTIONERS PROTECTION or support from Ahpra, RACGP and the affected health practitioner made felt like a criminal!

Doctors are increasingly Burn out and sick of this AHPRA+PBS OPPRESSION,
there is No Channel to Complain against AHPRA without being self investigated. Democracy goodnight!!

anonymous   22/05/2021 8:46:35 AM

I too have been through this gruelling and demeaning process. I was falsely accused, had no right to know my accusers or be part of a cross examination process. I was guilty till proven innocent. AHPRA was aggressive and bullying to say the least. I would have been lost without my medical defence organisation.

Dr Michael Lucas Bailey   22/05/2021 8:52:59 AM

Most of the current issues in the health system are systemic rather than individual practitioners. In any other industry, like aircraft or oil and gas, that is always the assumed cause. Root cause analysis is the gold standard for investigation. Our health system continues to fail patients and practitioners. AHPRA and OHO in Queensland don’t have any jurisdiction over the health system and only target practitioners. For real patient benefit and safety AHPRA needs to be scrapped and replaced with an organisation that looks at and addresses systemic causes.

Annonymous   22/05/2021 9:23:58 AM

A physician's job is very stressful and draining on its own and going through an investigation process by AHPRA is extremely stressful and people at AHPRa
specially its investigation team ought to know this but unfortunately some people in position of power enjoy stressing and harrassing physicians behind the shield of "protection of the public". If you ignore a physician's health you cannot claim that you are capable of caring for the public by ignoring and harming the health and safety of an individual. The people who are seeking these unreasonable powers are sick and must seek help and must be thrown out of the investigation team of AHPRA.

Ali   22/05/2021 9:50:57 AM

GPs are already under a lot of pressure with heavy workload and need to see lots of patients per day and also accomodate walk in .

All for nothing as the amount we charge for seeing for intance a diabetic patient is one tenth of an endocrinologist doing the same job !

If risks from AHPRA also increases , then why should we treat ? We will only diagnose and refer !!!

Outraged by injustice   22/05/2021 10:05:50 AM

Congratulations Dr Price for your courage with this. What other profession would tolerate a kangaroo court system with no transparency, no opportunity to test the evidence, where any aspect of the practice of the accused can be questioned without notice (relevant to the complaint or not) and when inaccuracies and misunderstandings cannot be challenged? Where else would the accused have to accept lawyers appointed by the insurer and their advice or risk being left undefended? Who else would tolerate an indemnity insurance system that is discretionary and does not cover false, vexatious or simply misunderstood medical procedures that lead to accusations of sexual impropriety? Hypocrisy for evidence based medicine to be required by politicians who risk millions of lives ignoring climate change evidence! Lobby all doctors in parliament. Demand a Senate Enquiry or a Royal Commission or else we refuse all cooperation with government e.g. bulk billing.

Anonymous   22/05/2021 10:26:11 AM

Unfortunately, AHPRA is biased towards complainants, who don't pay yearly fees to support it. It is like paying a discipline master to cane you.

If a complainant has vexatious intention in the background personality disorder and mental health issue, his complaint will be taken as the truth regardless of what the doctor did with a good intention and best of patient's care effort.

This injustice will encourage a society that upholds a poor behavior of vexatious complaints while disregard a mutually respectful problem solving culture.

I believe AHPRA is run by people without much on the ground day to day medical experience. I suggest that they make effort to see the doctor in his practice individually before making their conclusion. I guarantee that their decision will be very different from their office board room decision.

Please don't encourage bad behavior against a noble profession.

Dr Frederick Milton Van De Velde   22/05/2021 10:28:53 AM

Never have been subject to an AHPRA investigation but have witnessed many a good practitioner destroyed emotionally and start overly defensive medicine because of an attack on their professional ability. AHPRA is not your friend they are a police force run by individuals that have never practiced medicine at the high intensity that a GP does, and who have no choice in who they have to deal with. For the sake of professional standards there is a need for such a body, but there must be some protection for GPs from unfair anonymous and vexatious complaints, which are not only sole destroying but career ending for many a good GP.

Anonymous   22/05/2021 10:32:23 AM

Finally! a Rare and too silent voice of RACGP rallying for, Standing up for So Many affected GP members re
Ahpra’s Completely UNEMPATHIC and NOT SUPPORTIVE (as claimed) AT ALL ‘Dictatorship’ with Their extremely Rushed and intimidating prosecution against many good doctors.

Doctors who are caught in their busy, exhausting patient service, of some are increased demanding and abusive!!

Any Passionate Doctor’s Life can be destroyed by a CONFIDENTIAL notification in the Invisible The complex medicolegal spiderweb Of “Patient Protection”
w AHPRA’s practical reality of nonexistent “Innocent until proven otherwise” and COMPLETE NEGLECT OF IMPACT ON HEALTH PRACTIONERS AND THEIR PATIENTS.

There is NO PRACTIONERS PROTECTION or support from Ahpra, RACGP and the affected health practitioner made felt like a criminal!

Doctors are increasingly Burn out and sick of this AHPRA+PBS OPPRESSION,
there is No Channel to Complain against AHPRA without being self investigated. Democracy goodnight!!

Dr Shakeel Kacmarsky   22/05/2021 11:00:03 AM

Ive said this here and in the UK.
This persecutory regime will only stop with 2 things:
1. AHPRA is funded by us. Why do we pay to be persecuted? Its like paying for your own prosecution. Insane. We urgently need a campaign on refusal to pay AHPRA unless
a) principle of innocence assumed. Guilt has to be proved beyond all reasonable doubt. Like for everyone else.
b) We are given the power to complain and TAKE LEGAL ACTION against false / wrong/ vexatious claimants if they are in the wrong.

Otherwise we are lambs to the slaughter.
This is in YOUR hands.
Our leaders will wring their hands snd shrug their shoulders in learned helplessness. And we will work with shoulders bent and writing medical student notes just in case we are complained out.
Its a disgrace and all of us should be bloody raging instead of bring resigned to our fates like slaves hoping for a kind master.
Jesus H , WAKE UP!!

Had enough   22/05/2021 11:26:09 AM

I’ve only just entered and can’t believe what GP’s have been putting up with. No this? Glad I only just entered so I can leave. If you’re considering a career and reading this I’d think again. Going back to my old job. Lights off GP.

Dr G C   22/05/2021 11:42:19 AM

I agree with the article and the sentiments expressed by my colleagues. I was involved with AHPRA regarding an incident where I inadvertently made a breach of patient confidentiality. I admitted to this mistake and provided what I felt were mitigating factors surrounding the situation as well as measures I had taken to ensure it would not happen again. Despite this, I felt that their focus was on demonstrating that they were following ‘due process’ on the pretext of protecting public safety. They made me undertake additional educational courses and provide a reflective report, which may look good in theory but in reality were time consuming and unnecessarily draining. Also, I felt they were putting more onus on the practioner having to defend one’s actions and not fairly subjecting the patient’s complaints with the same amount of scrutiny. In my case, the complaint did have validity to it but I do sympathise with my colleagues who are on the receiving end of vexatious complaints

Anonymous   22/05/2021 12:26:22 PM

It takes one vexatious patient to write a letter, but hours of the doctor's time spent to respond to the accusations which often are trivial, and can be seen to be vexatious by the average person.
Then followed by weeks or months of 'being accused' and APHRA's unpleasant handling of doctors. These put a lot of stress on the doctor who are stressed enough when you have a number of patient's not well and needed the doctor's support.

Doctor's fee have not increase on par with the increasing cost of running a practice. To cover the increased cost, the doctor has to see and bill more patient's per hour - another stress on the doctor.

No wonder we see a drop in the number of trainees entering general practice .

TS   22/05/2021 2:13:05 PM

I think APHRA should take the responsibility to protect the practitioner the way they exercise to protect the public. Current system is very imbalanced.

Anonymous   22/05/2021 2:19:43 PM

Being on either side of an AHPRA Notification is a very challenging situation to be in. Whether you feel obliged to make a report on a drug supplying coworker, cognitively declining and error making coworker or specialist colleague, or Medicare defrauding dangerous Medication Review Pharmacist like I have( only to have to fend off $200K+
in litigation because AHPRA chooses to hide it’s own decision making process-ie protection under mandatory reporting is an illusion!)
Or being left with your life and your family’s in interminable limbo while month after month after month nothing happens, and all the AHPRA investigator has done is notify
you of a complaint & that she notes you’ve got an unresolved complaint against them-that makes you feel really comfortable...(can’t wait for the 3 month required by legislation 2nd contact)

Dr Peter JD Spafford   22/05/2021 3:17:47 PM

Thank you the RACGP, very accurate. And Michael Bailey whose comment above is the whole crux of the problem. I too have been a "victim" of AHPRA and have submitted a statement to the enquiry. AHPRA does not even seem to have a risk matrix to work on to determine what is a risk, how 'big' is that risk, are there contributory factors and risk be minimisation Their whole assessment and judgement process seems arbitrary and punitive. I look forward to the enquiry into AHPRA, hopefully there will be some regulation to this government agency.

Dr David Robert Talon Jones   22/05/2021 7:07:47 PM

Clearly we need a regulatory body - as a profession, we need to be accountable and to be seen to be accountable.

That said, SO DOES AHPRA.

The only body even slightly holding them to account is the RACGP and TFFT. I think AHPRA needs to be far, far more transparent and responsible/answerable for any decisions they make. For example, if a doctor faces an AHPRA complaint, and that practitioner suicides, then there should be a full police investigation which at the very least takes into account the role of APHRA in that persons suicide.

Having previously worked in the UK the GMC is no better. They have neglected the welfare of practitioners - particularly in the area of suicide, yet are unimpeachable - even when a senior surgeon pubically and obviously slammed the GP profession, and breached their own best practice rules, faced no sanction whatsoever.

We cannot allow AHPRA to be the same monster.

We absolutely should have a regulator - which MUST itself face regulation.

Dr L GP   22/05/2021 8:26:19 PM

System is broken. GPS pay exorbitant fees for compulsory membership to a corporation called AHPRA which is set on providing an easy outlet for the disillusioned and misinformed patient who believe they should have every test ordered no matter if it does not alter management "just for peace of mind" whilst getting bulk billed for their 5 different issues in a 15 minute consult and the GP earning less every year for more work due to Medicare feeeze. Between the threat of being reported for not complying with a patient demands and being admonished by Medicare NPS for ordering too many tests is it any wonder why Drs are burnt out and losing sleep. Yet we get up every day and do it all again. I'd rather an AHPRA that praises its doctors and educates the public that we are doing the best we can with integrity and backed by actual science.

Anonimous   22/05/2021 8:41:26 PM

AHPRA review is overdue.
I'm too have been viciously attacked by AHPRA. At the end , cases were dismissed. At this point I had already take "voluntary time off" as I could not cope any longer. I was out of my profession and physically sick !
Process is punitive, stressful, bullying, destructive and vingative. At no point is educational, or has patient safety in mind and CERTAINLY has no practitioner safety considered. I felt I was treated like a criminal !!
They threatened to take away from me, and I was constantly reminded the risk of loosing my profession, my professional r pride and my only source of income.
It's time a research on those who went through the grilling AHPRA process, have they listened, share our experiences.
We need to do this asap !!

Anonymous   22/05/2021 8:59:32 PM

Some years ago I was surprised to receive notification from AHPRA that they had investigated a complaint from a would be patient that I had refused to take on their care! I had not been advised of the complaint, but fortunately AHPRA had acknowledged that I had acted correctly, and done nothing wrong! Then about two years later I was contacted by the Health Complaints Commission with the same complaint from the same individual! Despite advising the HCC of the prior investigation by AHPRA, this enquiry then dragged on for some months before finally being settled in my favor. Surely the secretive AHPRA investigation should have been enough to prevent further stress to me? Don't the various regulatory bodies communicate with each other? Anonymous.

Dr Mark Miller   22/05/2021 9:43:45 PM

Doctors are a precious asset to their communities. When something goes wrong that may compromise community safety then there does need to be regulation and a process to investigate, remove and remediate the issue so that the doctor can safely reenter practice. as expediently as possible It has always been my impression and the reason I guess we all contribute to that pool of funding via registration is so that this process can occur in an expedient, safe and supported matter so that an important asset can be safely returned into the community in a supported manner. That the individual should undergo more punitive remediation / punishment as a warning to all does not seem to hold with those basic principles and would suggest as TS highlights above that the current system has become imbalanced. Education , CME, training would seem to be more efficient at reaching a wider group on appropriate roles and responsibilities.

Anonymos   22/05/2021 11:22:06 PM

I still recall after that AHPRA received about 6 complaint in almost one month after I left a practice's owner who has a well known serious notification with AHPRA. AHPRA did know that these are vaxtious complaints made by the owner because I left, howvere they took more than a year to end with a decision on no action in all of them.

The sad and funny thing same time is that AHPRA failed to send me the content of one of these complaints except after one year and 3 months of me contacting them and it was only when a decision was taken, so I was left for one year and 3 months guessing what is that complaint about. Along the one year and 3 months, I contacted them many times and I was surprised that sometimes the AHPRA staff was not aware where my complaint was being handled as I had moved to another state.

It was a draining, sad, stressful, unethical process at all.

Dr Raed Masoud   23/05/2021 1:39:45 AM

I strongly believe that the college have no power whatsoever over AHPRA’s policies . I have personally witnessed that AHPRA have declined the college’s educational modules as part conditions imposed by AHPRA on a colleague !So what is the purpose of all educational modules and GP learning on line ?
I see AHPRA as ruthless organisation trying to justify its presence by investigating complaints presented online or by writing by members of the public without taking into consideration the practitioners circumstances! I feel AHPRA officers are not even qualified to do their jobs. vexatious complaint are still being investigated seriously by AHPRA without taking into consideration the practitioner’s psychological well-being .
I do not think that the college have any power at all in order to make any changes . And I feel that the annual subscription fees paid to the college is a
waste of money.
To ensure justice , AHPRA policies and decisions should be overseen by a higher authority.

Anonymous   23/05/2021 10:11:23 AM

As I approached my final years of medical practice I was for the first time the subject of a vexatious claim. I did not know the identity of the claimant and I was completely exonerated. The claimant was the subject of a work over scam claim following the incident. He was attempting to seek extended stress leave. My MDO was extremely helpful and reassuring but the three months it took to resolve the problem was very distressing. I almost quit medicine at that time but resolved never to permit such an incident to determine the end of my long, satisfying career. I am still working and mentoring medical students but find it increasingly difficult to wholeheartedly recommend a career as a GP within the current environment. Significant changes need to occur to protect and support GP’S who are often working in difficult circumstances and in an increasingly litigious society.

Dr David Alan Wallace   23/05/2021 11:32:05 AM

I did some back of the envelope calculations. I am GP of modest talent who has practised for 40 years, seeing about 8,000 patients a year. With an average of 3 or more clinical decisions per consultation, this has given me just under a million chances to get a decision wrong. I have have been expected to have faced a million deliveries, without once being caught, bowled or trapped leg before. Even Don Bradman couldn't do that.

It is not reasonable to expect that sort of performance from a human being.

AHPRA uses a system devoid of natural justice to demand perfection. The whole system needs to be thrown out and replaced with a humane and just system that takes care of the needs of all involved.

Perhaps we could start with the need for a complainant to pay $50 lodgement fee, refundable if the complaint is upheld. And could we add a $5000 charge for a claim deemed to be vexatious?

Dr Peter James Strickland   23/05/2021 7:03:18 PM

There an amazing number of comments (above), and indicates the unsatisfactory position having AHPRA at all.
The solution is easy for the RACGP (and other AHPRA approval required health organisations). --- go back to State based registrations again, as they will be fairer, more relevant, and certainly cheaper, and gives practitioners a closer and local means of appealing. AHPRA registration fees at present should include the supply of some legal representation, and if a practitioner is found innocent of any offence ----COMPENSATION by the complainer along with AHPRA itself in the present arrangements ---otherwise they are jury and judge, and who is the "expert" in all of this anyway? I would like to see the accounts of AHPRA, and where the monies are being spent, and would advise RACGP to get and publish them, as they should be in the public arena.

Anon   23/05/2021 11:04:13 PM

This article and the numerous “anonymous” comments it has raised must not be forgotten. Very worrying if the tone set regarding the level of any sanctions is based on the need to make an example out of someone else. Deterrence and compliance require accountability, the system requires transparency. AHPRA action is often without much communication or justification under the “public safety” mantra. You can be requested by AHPRA to respond a couple of weeks, onus and stress on the practitioner, but wait months for AHPRA to their aspects. Having been directly and indirectly caught up in these stressful processes, their decisions are without proportionality or clear reasoning and arbitrary at best. This pattern of secrecy and nudge psychology is creeping into other medical regulating agencies, with worryingly lack of accountability to demonstrate due legal principles or processes.

Dr Anthony Cletus McCarthy   24/05/2021 8:01:34 PM

My recent experiences of colleagues having their lives disrupted by the Kangaroo Court AHPRA has become on the flimsiest of grounds is very depressing.
It is one more reason for practitioners think very carefully about being in general practice.

Dr Ewen Percival Cameron   25/05/2021 8:34:02 PM

In my humble opinion all the letters above are spot on.
AHPRA is an second rate bureaucracy lacking any real understanding and knowledge of the issues involved in good patient care and the need for a high priority of looking after the welfare of GPs.
I looked up AHPRA members on the web and got directed to the name of its CEO making it sound like yet another company with a winning “business plan
No wonder it’s management of patient complaints is “cliched “unsubtle ,unwise, harmful to doctors and a reflection of AHPRA ‘s ignorance or lack of concern for the realities of general practice.

Good on the RACGP for embarking on this vital crusade to give GP’s some respect and confidence in their regulatory authority.
Personally I don’t like their chances .
In my experience most self righteousness and arrogant and ignorant Pharisees find it hard to change their spots.

Dr Stuart Crowther Burton   25/05/2021 9:11:43 PM

This article and responses makes me despair of my colleagues.
What percentage of GP’s actually come before the medical board and more importantly what percentage actually receive significant sanctions as a result of those appearances? Miniscule is the answer.
We are a privileged group in society who take responsibility for our patients’ health. Or as the college will have it; of the Nation’s health. It is only right and proper that an appropriate body ensures that this care is provided to the highest standard. Not withstanding the occasional vexatious complaint the board does a fine job in ensuring this standard.
I have participated in the Professional Standards Committee of AHPRA and believe me there are some pretty average GP’s out there who need sanctions. So toughen up princes and princesses; realise that we need to maintain high standards. Otherwise we will end up with the reputations of used car sales people

Dr Ewen Percival Cameron   26/05/2021 2:12:57 PM

Stuart’s comments indicate that he’s part of the problem and not the solution.
I’ve been a Gp for 30 years in all sorts of practices
So far I’ve been lucky enough to be spared the horrors of an AHPRA investigation.but I’ve seen the unnecessary and prolonged and heartless crap colleagues have gone thru and watched good colleagues die.
We need a regulatory agency but one we can respect and have confidence in with a real and detailed knowledge of the challenges of General Practice in all it’s many guises and a genuine concern and respect for its doctors.
We don’t want to be let off for bad behaviour but if while striving to do a good job the realities of modern medicine and our often flawed and sometimes unreasonable fellow humans bite us in the bum then we want to be helped and judged by a system we can respect.
AHPRA does not have that respect.

If Stuart had actually suffered at AHPRAs hands he might play a different tune.

Tasmedic   28/05/2021 1:46:57 PM

Ewen, I'm right with you on what you say about Stuart's Comments. Anyone having had to deal with the smelly end of AHPRA would not make such flippant comments about the "princes and princesses" of our profession. Speaking as someone who is still waiting for decision from AHPRA, a year following a vexatious complaint was made to them about me (my barrister says the complaint is total tosh and rubbish), I can tell you that AHPRA needs to be made accountable to someone capable of pulling it into line when it wastes GP time and money on protracted investigations into frivolous complaints without even speaking to the victim first.

Dr Mazen Khan   29/05/2021 11:00:50 AM

I feel saddened by my colleagues suffering at the hands of injustice. As known to all our jobs are extremely stressful and rather than supporting our independent decision making ability we are at the mercy of appeasing our demanding patients to avoid complaints. There is no educational campaigns to the public regarding costs of pathology, radiology or scripts. On the other hand there are campaigns for patients to be even more demanding.
The state of our medical system from a practitioners prospective is unjust. Practicing medicine is at knife edge. Any one from your personal and private life can take advantage of your professional vulnerabilities. Doctors are humans like everyone else and they WILL MAKE MISTAKES.. They need to be supported NOT "Salem" persecuted.
Unfortunately I cannot foresee anyone else defending our right but our own selves. Many other professions have improved their quality of work by industrial action and maybe this is what we need.

Dr DMac   29/05/2021 11:05:48 AM

Have been through this process twice, being notified within 1 week of each other, its exceptionally time consuming and stressful. Both times claims were thrown out, but it only takes them 3-6 months...... with no communication whatsoever in the meantime and countless hours of preparation.

One of the worst parts of the process is they gave my 5-7 days to prepare my case, yet they get 6 months to review is that fair.

Dr Philip Ian Dawson   31/05/2021 3:21:20 PM

AHPRA, like the Health Car Complaints Commissioner, has no jurisdiction over State Government Helath Departments and their lengthy delays to treatment. I have had patients wai 2 years fro an appointment with Neurosurgery in the Public Hospital. One, with proven cervical spinal cord compression, collapsed twice and was taken to emergency before they operated. Fortunately she recovered. If she hadnt, in the private system she would have had a great case of negligence for delayed treatment, but despite these dangerous life threatening delays there is no legal accountability of Public Hospitals. Whay are they immune to due process when private practitioners arent? It is a loophole in the legal system that our constitution says Federal bodies can have no jurisisdiction over State Government emplyees. I actually got the Health Care Complaints commissioner to investigate a case where our local public hospital was negligent. They refused to comply with the findings.

Anonymous   24/06/2021 7:52:12 PM

A complaint about an event 20 years was lodged against me. The AHPRA gave me two days to response before they took the immediate action to suspend my registration. After I applied for the stay decision,, which usually takes few weeks to be heard, AHPRA refused to set a date for the matter to be heard at the Victoria Tribunal. As months went on and there was little chance of the matter to be heard as a disciplinary matter due to COVID, we finally had the hearing for the stay application a few months later. Not only I was not be able to work in the meantime, I became extremely depressed, especially because of the suddenness of the suspension, 2 days notice. A stay Application was granted. AHPRA appealed the decision. On second hearing, the stay application was granted again. Few months later, I had the disciplinary hearing with the Victorian Tribunal, the immediate action was again thrown out. One year later, the matter was heard in court, I was found not guilty of the complaint.

Dr Kelvin Vo   24/06/2021 8:34:05 PM

To Dr Stuart Burton,
You sir, is the exact part of the problem.
While you mentioned that only a miniscule number of Doctors being investigated by AHPRA, we fail to notice AHPRA investigative all cases, no matter how ridiculous. The fact that only few Doctors came to you is because we already have a very high standard of practice. Besides , no matter how few Doctors are being persecuted unfairly , that is still unacceptable. To you, it is just a number, but to someone else, it is their life.
We do not take responsibility for other people’s health. We are there to help but ultimately it is still their responsibility to look after yourself.
No one here denies the need to have a regulatory body to ensure high standard, what we are asking for is for a fair, transparent approach where AHPRA, just like us, are also held responsible.
You call us princes/princesses and toughened up. If we use same language to patients, you will be in our back. Total lack of respect.

Anonymous   25/07/2021 1:00:49 PM

Congratulations for the RACGP for taking this stand. I welcomed AHPRA when it started but it has become, as feared by some at the start, a monolithic empire building bureaucracy bending to the whim of its political masters who are trying to blame the doctors for health system inadequacies.