AMA cautiously welcomes COAG decision on mandatory reporting

11 May 2018

The AMA has cautiously welcomed the agreed strategy for mandatory reporting laws that emerged from the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council meeting in Sydney on 12 April 2018.

AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, who addressed the Health Ministers during their mandatory reporting deliberations, said the outcome shows that the Ministers have acknowledged the AMA’s concerns and, with ongoing goodwill, discussion, and consultation, can arrive at much better laws than currently exist.

“It is clear that all the Health Ministers are committed to removing barriers from doctors seeking help from other doctors about their mental health or stress-related conditions,” Dr Gannon said.

“There are concerns about some of the wording in the COAG communique, including in regard to the ‘future misconduct’ of health professionals.

“It is unreasonable and unworkable to expect treating doctors to predict the future behaviour of any patients, including their colleagues.

“But I am sure we can work through this with the Ministers in the drafting of the legislation.

“The AMA looks forward to working with the COAG Health Council in getting the wording right in the legislation to ensure that doctors get access to the care and support they need.

“The positive signals in the communique give us some confidence that acceptable nationally consistent mandatory reporting laws are within reach,” Dr Gannon said.

Read more about the AMA advocacy on mandatory reporting