AMA says adopt WA model of mandatory reporting

28 Sep 2017

The AMA has urged the COAG Health Council to adopt the Western Australian model of mandatory reporting provisions for doctors seeking treatment for mental health and stress-related conditions.

The Council has released a consultation paper on developing nationally consistent laws, following concerns that current laws that require treating practitioners to notify authorities about doctors who seek help are a major barrier to doctors accessing the care and support they need.

The paper proposes four options, including the adoption of the Western Australian model, which exempts treating doctors from mandatory reporting requirements.

The AMA submission to the consultation will recommend adopting the Western Australian model.

“Doctors deserve the right to access health services, just like patients”, AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, said this week.

“The AMA’s view is clear. We need a model that addresses the issues currently stopping doctors from seeking the treatment they need. We need a model that we know for certain will work, while still protecting patients. We need a model that can be adopted nationally.

“The AMA believes the current model in WA is the right one. It is a proven model. It has given doctors the confidence to seek the help they need and there is no evidence that it has diminished patient safety in any way.

“Options that simply reword the current legislation, or seek to maintain the status quo, will do nothing but condemn doctors to continue to suffer in silence.

“Now is the opportunity to address the problem once and for all – because healthy doctors are best placed to help patients. Anything less puts both doctors and patients at risk.”

Full media release