Mandatory Reporting Changes still not good enough

7 Feb 2019

AMA President Dr Tony Bartone has expressed frustration with the majority recommendation of a State Parliamentary Committee to pass proposed mandatory reporting laws.

“It is frustrating that lawmakers continue to ignore the overwhelming advice of doctors and medical bodies about this issue,” AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone, said today.

“We have already lost too many talented, brilliant, and dedicated colleagues who felt they could not seek help because they would be reported.”

Dr Bartone made the comments in response to the Queensland Parliament Health, Communities, Disability Services, and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee recommended passing the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018. While the Bill softens the current laws, it does not exempt treating doctors from reporting their doctor patients as in the WA model – what the AMA has been advocating for.

“The AMA has gone to great lengths – appearing at consultations, writing submissions, talking to governments – over many years to highlight how this policy works, and why it needs to change.

“We had recommended the WA model because we know it has worked, and will continue to work, and because introducing it in the other jurisdictions would have brought much needed national consistency.

Dr Bartone highlighted that 75 per cent of submissions to the Council of Australian Governments Health Council advocated for national adoption of the WA model, but this was ignored. Under COAG arrangements, once passed, the Queensland law will apply in all States and Territories except Western Australia, where doctors will remain exempted from mandatory reporting provisions.

While the new model is not ideal, the new scheme will make it easier for health practitioners seeking help.

“It will now be up to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and COAG Health Ministers to convince all practitioners who are unwell that the new provisions provide the necessary protections to seek treatment, and we will hold them to this.”

Full AMA media release here.

Read the AMA submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry here.

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