AHPRA and the Medical Boards — Is there any accountability or answerability for regulatory bodies and their members?

The below link to another blogger’s article (Titled “AHPRA and the Medical Boards — protecting their own”) is an example of how the bureaucracy in Australia is not answerable for its unfair processes and decisions. This patient  (author) outlines the cumbersome loops one is put through, with no light at the end of the tunnel. As a disclaimer, I state that I do not have any affiliation with the author at the time of publishing this post.

Here are some of the apparent actions and statements made by the various regulatory bodies and bureaucrats:

  • Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) :
    • “This letter is to inform you that from the point of view of the College of Surgeons the matter is at an end and no further correspondence will be entertained.”
    • there has been no breach of the Code of Conduct by Dr X as you allege.”
  • Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA):
    • Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act requires a decision within 60 days, but AHPRA had responded with a decision 6 months later.
    • no further action to be taken as the notification [complaint] was lacking in substance.”
    • the results were within the normal range of expectations for this type of surgery”
    • a decision by the Board is neither reviewable nor appealable.
  • The Medical Board:
    • Takes legal action via the Tribunal (QCAT).
      • Bring along legal representation, requesting that the application for a review be struck out
      • Make a threat: if the patient did not withdraw their application for a review they would seek costs at indemnity rates (of  $7,189.80), which they were granted after winning at the Tribunal. The author was unable to find a solicitor to represent them.
  • Supreme Court:
    • The author considers suing AHPRA/Board for breach of statutory duties in failing to provide a fair and impartial decision. No legal representaion was available for the author. The author lost the case, and was required to pay $7,189.80.
  • The applicant subsequently applied to the Crimes and Misconduct Commission, and the outcome is not known.

 

Lessons:

  • There is no regulation of regulatory bodies in Australia. These bodies are not obliged to answer your questions, justify their decisions, nor review appeals.
  • Individuals have no hope of justice.
  • Accept the first decision as the last. Escalation is a costly, time-wasting and pointless exercise.
  • It will be difficult to find legal representation against regulatory bodies.
  • Lastly, the message from the bureaucrats is, if you’re a victim, get over it and move on. Question them and they’ll make you pay, literally.

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Helen Stanley-Clarke went in for abdominal surgery but ended up with a facelift that went disastrously wrong. Read in horror how the surgeon escaped censure by issuing false statements and through…

Source: AHPRA and the Medical Boards — protecting their own

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Dealing with Bureaucracy, Bullying and Politics in Medicine

As a follow up post to Bullying in Medicine, where I covered how doctors may bully other doctors, I thought I’ll cover how medical bureaucracy can victimise individual doctors. I’ll be posting the various comments and arguments that bureaucrats have made in relation to individual cases, all of which are publicly available. The purpose of this post is to provide an insight into the spectrum of strategies employed by bureaucrats and doctors in power in dealing with individual doctors. Consider them to be buzz words and phrases. As a disclaimer, I state that at the time of publication, I do not have any personal connection with any of the following cases.

  1. http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/surgeon-sues-state-government-for-12m-in-bullying-claim/news-story/f18818ddb85b0e06e74438eb1eeb4d11
    • “In its defence, the State Government, through the public-owned health agencies involved, says Dr Morley’s lack of supervision and employment issues arose through his incompetence rather than bullying or harassment.”
    • “It says Dr Morley did not accept the proper supervision provided to him, breached the implied terms of compliance with supervision by failing to accede to the direction of his supervisors and engaged in illegal activity by recording a patient conversation without consent.”
    • “The Government claims appropriate feedback to support and improve Dr Morley had been wrongly constructed as bullying and harassment.”
  2. https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/bullying-just-the-tip-of-the-iceberg-in-medical-administration-dysfunction,7811
    • Sham peer review and wrongful use of mandatory notification to the Australian Health Professionals Regulation Authority (AHPRA) are used to attack senior health professionals. Too often, the system is manipulated not in the public interest but in the interests of the notifiers. The reasons appear to be personal and commercial.”
    • “Internal reviews are open to criticism for lack of independence, lack of transparency, whitewashing and cover up.”
  3. https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/bullying-and-collateral-damage-the-case-of-dr-emery,9119
    • “Dr Emery was then targeted by a group of  “colleagues” in Townsville and Cairns. They lodged notifications to the Australian Health Professional Regulation Agency (AHPRA) in the guise of mandatory notifications. They did not discuss this action with Dr Emery before doing so. AHPRA then placed restrictions on his registration without adequately investigating the truth of the allegations. This group was eventually responsible for Dr Emery having to withdraw from the Townsville Mater Hospital and Cairns Private Hospital.”
    • “The director of medical services at the Townsville Mater Hospital suffered collateral damage from his efforts to protect the interests of Dr Emery and the North Queensland community. He was targeted and notified to AHPRA because of his support for Dr Emery, cleared by AHPRA but no action was taken against the perpetrator of the unfounded complaint”
  4. http://www.smh.com.au/national/australian-surgeons-accused-of-cartel-behaviour-to-control-fees-20160922-grm5rh.html
    • “during the recording, two leading surgeons discuss the candidate’s migrant background, talk about the local doctors’ views of him, and decide to measure him against how others perform on the day. This last decision leads the examiners to lower his score so he fails. At the time, one of the examiners worked in the same city as the overseas-trained candidate who failed the high stakes exam.”
    • “The college says an investigation of the video and recording found no bias against the candidate, and only “minor breaches” of protocols which did not play a role in whether the person passed or failed.”
    • “While the college does not record exams itself, it said its investigation found the published video did not accurately reflect what took place in the exam. No disciplinary action has been taken against the examiners. They were counselled instead.”
    • Here’s a published video of how examiners determine a candidate’s fate BEFORE the exam itself, based on their background: https://vid.me/0UfK
    • “Under college policy, an examiner who discovers they have an “actual or perceived” conflict of interest when they meet a candidate must raise it with a senior examiner on the day and take a secondary role. The professor did not do that. Dr P failed. He continued working under supervision on the understanding he would sit the exam again in future. But his new supervisor allegedly told a colleague in late 2014 that he had “many friends” who would ensure Dr P never got fellowship.  “
    • “Over the next four years, Mr Tansley faced multiple complaints to the Australian Medical Board about his competence, none of which have been substantiated. There have also been allegations that one of his supervisors, Sugitha Seneviratne​, had an undisclosed, close personal relationship with him. Dr Seneviratne says she has never been in a romantic relationship with Mr Tansley and that this “smear” has been one of several designed to disturb his efforts to get fellowship.”
  5. http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2015/09/10/toxic-culture-fear-surgery-departments/
    • “In some instances the people handling the complaints were the perpetrators, while other concerns were for the reputation it may bring with it.“They report making a complaint as ‘career suicide’ and fear being ‘black-balled’ in areas such as selection, references, job recommendations, appointment processes, and career path,” the report said.“Nothing is anonymous in medicine … even filling in this questionnaire is extremely uncomfortable,” one comment read.”

More to come..