Report

Government responds to medical complaints inquiry

The response comes after the Senate Community Affairs References Committee handed down its report in Novber last year. The report was commissioned due to claims of workplace bullying and harassment within the medical profession, and in particular the medical complaints process.“The bullying and harassment culture within the health sector must be taken very seriously. The community expects that the care they receive is safe and of high quality, and that the professionals delivering this care work within a respectful team environment,” the government response stated.{{quote-a:r-w:425-I:2-Q:“All stakeholders in the health syst must work together and donstrate leadership to eliminate these negative behaviours.”-WHO:Government response}}“All stakeholders in the health syst must work together and donstrate leadership to eliminate these negative behaviours.”Broadly, the report recommends that all parties with responsibility for addressing bullying within medicine acknowledge that it rains prevalent and commit to ongoing action to eliminate the behaviour. Changes to university curriculums and hospital code of conducts with regard to bullying in the workplace were two suggested methods for resolving the issue.The report also recommended that specialist medical colleges publicly release an annual report detailing bullying complaints and how they were dealt with.The only recommendation that did not receive support from the Federal Government was the call for a fresh inquiry that would investigate the implentation of the current complaints syst, whether the existing framework is adequate to deal with bullying, and the roles of AHPRA and the National Boards in addressing concerns regarding the complaints process.The suggested inquiry would have also covered whether amendments to the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act were needed in relation to the complaints handling process and any other improvents that could be made. However, in its response the government stated a further inquiry was not required.“The Sche has undergone a number of reviews including an Independent Review of the Sche (the NRAS Review) completed by Mr Kim Snowball in Decber 2014.  In addition, reviews in Queensland (Parliamentary Committee inquiry into the functioning of the Office of the Health Ombudsman), and Victoria (Duckett review) have been undertaken,” it was stated in the response.“Work is currently underway as a result of these reviews, in collaboration with jurisdictions and AHPRA, to make improvents to the Sche, especially in relation to notifications and complaints processes. This work is expected to address the issues raised in Recommendation 6.”More reading: The full response.