AHPRA Starts its End Game?

AHPRA starts its end game?
(Queensland Dcotors get the rough end of the pineapple. Are you next?)

Hi. It has been a turbulent start to 2014 and it seems that the waters are only going to get rougher and more difficult to navigate. If this prediction comes true then one of the ways that you can shore up your own position is to make ASADA stronger. ASADA has a massive catchment potential of ~18,000 members of the medical profession being aged 60 years or more. So how about the next time you meet a likely candidate you suggest they visit our ASADA website with a view to joining.

In last year's October newsletter I published the following - The MBA is AHPRA's creature.

Dr FLYNN—No. Mr Viney, when I was the president of the Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria, Mr Mullaly was the CEO of the Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria and the board paid his salary and all of the staff of the office that we had in Lonsdale Street. That office no longer exists. All of the staff are AHPRA staff, so as the chair of the medical board I do not have a physical office; I do not have my own staff. All of the staff are AHPRA staff. AHPRA do the work of the boards. The large bulk of the revenue that is collected from medical registration fees is contracted with AHPRA for doing the work.

(At this point I'd like to suggest that you might like to see who makes up the AHPRA Board and their Administration to judge for yourself if they have sufficient education to undertake medical judgements at an executive level and take note of the ratio of medical practitioners to nurses in light of what follows below.)

I then followed up with an attempt to dissect out a "who, what, why" of AHPRA in the December 2013 Newsletter. Some of you may remember that I concluded that AHPRA had done a good job in building a database of practitioners but also said: "However in the light of the outcomes for AHPRA's "oversight" where 4,760 notifications resulted in 4,323 being closed without action being taken suggests that Australia may NOT be getting value for money spent".

Please note that I wasn't calling for more Doctors to be "punished" rather I was pointing out that by and large our profession had been shown to be mostly behaving well and that we could likely revert to our previous self policing practice and save much of the $138 million dollars AHPRA spends chasing shadows per year.

It turns out that it would be a massive understatement to say that my view was not the accepted wisdom and what came next in Qld. should not have been a surprise.... and having seen how rapidly AHPRA's power has spread this now is likely to involve all of you that have remained under AHPRA's rule....

2014 to be the year that AHPRA reveals its end game?

In mid January 2014 Queensland's Minister for Health Mr Springborg announced that he was following the recommendations of a Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) investigation into medical complaints in the state, which found the former board was "much more lenient" than the boards of other health practitioners and was rectifying this by placing a nurse as chair of the Queensland Medical Board.

On the 29th January 2014: The Australian Doctor published an article entitled: Nurse to head state medical board. I have excerpted a couple of snippets:

    • A nurse has been appointed chair of the new Queensland Medical Board as a move to combat "lenient" decisions against doctors.
    • The controversial decision by Queensland Health Minister Lawrence Springborg comes nine months after the minister accused the former board of failing to deal with complaints against doctors in a timely or appropriate manner.

When asked about this decision via an Australian Doctor online poll our profession responded to the question below:

To me it seems amazing that ~16% were happy with a change that effectively disenfranchises them from review by their peers who are likely at least to be able, educated, and equipped via their own experience, to understand the issues that medical practitioners face when making what are often delicately balanced judgement calls. I do acknowledge that the Queensland Medical Board still has medical practitioners as members but the ultimate power and policy settings surely rests with its chairperson who is likely to bring her mindset, informed by her nursing background, along with her mandate to combat "lenient" decisions against doctors to her "court".

Having lived in Queensland and watched the last few years unfold has been a lesson in medico-political Machiavellian intrigue where we (the medical profession) have been cast as the "shrew" to be "tamed". Sadly our union has become a "compliant and obedient bride" and perhaps even more sad it seems that it is us the elders* who are first for the "taming" (apologies to Shakespeare). *The Medical Board of Australia (MBA) may target older doctors among groups deemed high risk as part of its proposed rolling revalidation scheme, MBA chair Dr Joanna Flynn said last week.

Now I can "hear" many of you ask: Where is the linkage between the CMC and AHPRA. How can Simon imply that it was a set-up? Well I believe if you take the time to read this you will be amazed and likely a bit dismayed as to how we have been outplayed. click here

Please post your objections/comments/responses to the above on the ASADA news-views forum as I will be Laos from the 20th February through to late March and therefore unable to respond to emails. I do anticipate being able to interact via our forum.

Your username is: ASADAMember
Your password is: SeniorDr33

The next ASADA committee meeting is on Tuesday the 18th of February 5pm Sydney time. If you'd like to attend email me for the teleconference's login and pin.

For those of you that have access to the Australian Doctor online and have time to read more about what I have been banging on about:. The headings are links to the articles and so you may have to login to the Australian Doctor to view the content.....

Doctors slam nurse's medical board role

Hundreds of doctors have said they are against the appointment of a nurse to the chair of the Queensland Medical Board, with a former medical regulator labeling it an "incredible insult".

Can a nurse head a medical board?

Poll: A nurse has been appointed to head up Queensland's Medical Board in a bid to prevent lenient decisions against doctors. Do you think a nurse should chair the state's medical board or not?

Nurse to head state medical board

A nurse has been appointed chair of the new Queensland Medical Board in a move aimed at combating “lenient” decisions against doctors.

Call to let patients Google sanctioned docs

AHPRA is being pressured to allow Google easier access to its database of sanctioned doctors so patients can vet practitioners by simply typing their name into the search engine.

Please note that the views expressed above are mine and may not be representative of ASADA's members.

Have a great year and have your say on our news-views forum..


Simon Strauss
Acting President ASADA