AMA critical of National Law changes

AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid and AMA Queensland President Dr Maria Boulton have appeared before a Queensland parliamentary committee to argue against amendments that will help neither patients or doctors 

The AMA has been critical of proposed amendments to the National Law currently before a Queensland parliamentary committee.

AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid appeared at the committee this week, alongside AMA Queensland President Dr Maria Boulton.

Dr Khorshid said out of all the proposed amendments the ability of Ahpra, or the medical board, to be able to issue a public warning before a tribunal has completed its actions was the most troubling.

He said health professionals didn’t “have any real understanding” of why the harsh steps were necessary especially when Ahpra and the medical board already had powers to protect the public if a practitioner posed a serious risk.

 “We have not been given any evidence of how this additional power will assist in protecting the public. We can only conclude that this lack of evidence is because there is none, and we are absolutely of the view that issuing a public warning implies guilt and is likely to ruin a practitioner's reputation, possibly ruin their lives.

“Even if such statements are withdrawn down the track, it is a completely non-retractable step and will cause irreparable harm to the health and wellbeing of practitioners who may actually have done absolutely nothing wrong,” Dr Khorshid said.

Dr Khorshid told the hearing the AMA agrees protection of the public is a critical role of the scheme but was already well achieved under current arrangements.

He said the consultation process in the AMA’s view had been less than satisfactory with many of the changes not thought through and said, “the best illustration” of that was the “bizarre proposal to remove the current ban on patient testimonials from advertising material”.

The Queensland Parliament’s Health and Environment Committee is due to report on the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 on 1 July.

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