Mandatory Reporting under the health practitioner regulation national law

29-Sep-2017
     

 

As previously reported, significant concerns have been raised with the existing mandatory reporting regime which is perceived as providing a disincentive for doctors from accessing treatment for medical and mental health issues on the basis that seeking treatment for any such condition would require the treating practitioner to notify AHPRA, & potentially result in the doctor having conditions imposed on their practice, or even being suspended from practice with profound effects on their career. Any reluctance to seek assistance has a direct impact on the health and wellbeing of the doctor, his/her patients, colleagues and family. 

A discussion paper has been circulated which has been discussed in detail by ASMOF NSW State Council and the joint AMA-ASMOF Doctors in Training Committee. ASMOF NSW, together with the Federal ASMOF union and the AMA have made submissions after consideration of the discussion paper. The key elements are below: 

  • ASMOF considers that the current mandatory reporting arrangements are a direct deterrent to Doctors seeking early assistance for medical or mental health issues, potentially putting at risk not only the doctors directly concerned, but also patients and colleagues. 
  • For those reasons, ASMOF NSW considers that Option 2, which entrusts the treating practitioner to make a voluntary notification in accordance with their professional and ethical obligations to protect the health and safety of their patients and the public and which closely resembles the model which has been proven successful in Western Australia to be the preferred model. 
  • Should there be no consensus by Health Ministers that Option 2 is to be the preferred option, Option 4 which would exempt treating practitioners from the requirement to report impairment matters, and to only require reporting of other forms of notifiable conduct where there is an assessment that there is an assessment that the notifiable conduct is likely to occur/reoccur could be an acceptable alternative option.  This option would allow practitioners with health issues to seek treatment and disclose past effects of their health issues without fear that the treating practitioner will be obliged to report past medical history to AHPRA, potentially encouraging doctors to seek treatment with confidence in the therapeutic relationship between the doctor and his/her treating practitioner. 

A further report will be issued when the submissions from various interested parties are consolidated & considered by Health