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