AHPRA tries to be ‘more human’

2 minute read

The regulator has a plan to address complaints about its processes from both notifiers and the notified.

Australia’s health practitioner regulator is aware of just how unpopular it is.

Both notifiers and the practitioners on the receiving end have let it be known that they want the complaints handling process to feel more “human”, AHPRA said in its annual report.

The plan to address this, according to the report, is to have staff call all notifiers and notified health practitioners directly, rather than relying on written correspondence.

That’s not the only trick AHPRA has up its sleeve – earlier this year, it announced that there would be a new task force dedicated to fast-tracking vexatious complaints.

It promises to have more practical recommendations arising from in-depth interviews with practitioners who have been the subject of a notification finalised by the end of the year.

In all, AHPRA received almost 19,000 notifications in the 2021-22 financial year, roughly 1000 more than the year before.

Medical practitioners accounted for just under 11,000 of the notification recipients, while patients and members of the public were the most common notifiers.

Around 10,000 notifications were closed between July 2021 and June 2022; roughly half of these were notifications against doctors, leaving 4600 open notifications against medical practitioners at 30 June.

Just a third of complaints take three months or less to get closed, and another third take between three and six months.

Less than 10% of notifications are open for a year or more.

Six in 10 notifications were closed with no further action taken, and a quarter were transferred to another body.

The most common reason for a complaint was clinical care, which was raised more than 5000 times, followed by communication.

An impressive 12% of notifications in the last financial year were related to the pandemic and ranged from concerns about a practitioner providing faked vaccination exemptions to a practitioner whose behaviour in a social media debate had breached national board code of conduct.

By June though, weekly covid-related notifications had dwindled to an average of five per week.

The dedicated covid taskforce will wrap up early next year.

End of content

No more pages to load

Log In Register ×