Allegations not proven – but still published?

Allegations not proven – but still published

Would you visit a doctor who has, next to his or her name in the public register, a mention of a court proceeding or tribunal hearing?

Or would you prefer to see another doctor, even if the small print on the register stated ‘allegations not proven’?

I often find the legalese speak on AHPRA’s website difficult to understand. A recent report recommended that the register should include web links to published disciplinary decisions and court rulings – which AHPRA has been implementing.

However, and this is not immediately clear from the explanation on the website, apparently proceedings will also be published when a doctor or other health practitioner was found not guilty.

Complaints that have been dismissed in a tribunal as without merit will still be listed with a link to the relevant court or tribunal ruling, according to this article on DoctorPortal. The issue was also flagged at the national AMA Conference last month.

This measure is meant to ‘build trust between doctors and patients’. I’m not sure it is protecting the public but I can imagine that publishing complaints that have been dismissed is confusing for the public – and can also be misinterpreted.

It has the potential to not only affect the reputation of health professionals unfairly, but also their mental health and general wellbeing.

We need to have another long hard look at this.

Amendment 27-07-2018:

“The Medical Board of Australia (the Board) has decided to publish links to serious disciplinary decisions by courts and tribunals on the public register of practitioners only when there has been an adverse finding against the doctor.

The Board will not publish links from an individual doctor’s entry on the register to public court and tribunal decisions when no adverse finding against the doctor has been made.

The Board has removed links to tribunal decisions in which there was no adverse finding about the doctor that had been published on the register since March 2018.”

http://www.medicalboard.gov.au/News/2018-07-27-board-refines-policy-publishes-disciplinary-links-only-with-adverse-outcomes.aspx

3 thoughts on “Allegations not proven – but still published?

  1. These days, many complaints are visible in the media long before they are addressed officially. This means anyone can see them, and this can enough to damage confidence or to be stirred up

    To have a listing on the AHPRA register that specifies that an investigation was undertaken and found to have no merit, to be spurious, or to be vexatious, would be valuable.

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  2. A similar listing against the name of a vexatious accuser might make them think twice before setting up their mischief. One problem is that AHPRA investigates many such cases ‘in camera’. The accused only finds out about the accusation after it has been investigated. AHPRA may not even realise that the accusation in vexatious.

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