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Media Release: for immediate release

July 2017

 

There is a new bill in the Queensland Parliament likely to be debated and passed in August – is should never be enacted.

The bill that will have Australia-wide implications for Healthcare standards as it furthers the draconian, adversarial approach to complaints management.

It will not protect the public, as it is dressed up to do, but will merely set an unreasonable standard for punishment of healthcare practitioners by bureaucrats; a system that will not help prevent poor practice.

We have had two recent Senate inquires that have shown the National Health Regulator is poorly managed and poor at managing complaints, since when there has not been the effective calling out of the failure to protect patients. Honest healthcare professionals continue to go through a “star chamber” process that ruins careers, even when no harm has been done.

We have a broken healthcare regulatory system, why make it worse. The new Queensland Bill will make matters worse.

Why is preventing the Queensland parliament changing the law so important? Because, health regulation is state based, and any amendments passed in Queensland can be adopted in all jurisdictions without amendment.

If health regulation worked in Australia this bill would make healthcare better, but read through the prism of a mismanaged, inefficient, ineffective, unaccountable system that lacks transparency, the following extracts from the introductory speech by the Hon Cameron Dick MP, Member for Woodridge, Queensland Minister for Health, are ALARMING. Good people will be punished, bad healthcare practitioners will continue to get away with poor care.

1. The bill will enable national boards to require a health practitioner who is under investigation to provide details of all of the places at which the practitioner practices, regardless of the manner of their engagement or appointment.

2. ​This will cover practitioners engaged as employees, contractors, voluntary and honorary appointments, practitioners credentialed to practice in a hospital, partnership arrangements and the use of service companies.

 

3. The intent of these amendments is to ensure that, where action is being taken against a health practitioner, a national board is able to inform all places at which the person practices.

 

4. This change will help to protect [sic] public safety by ensuring that, regardless of the manner of engagement of a health practitioner, their employer or equivalent entity will be made aware of any disciplinary action or conditions imposed on registration.

 

5. Practitioners will not be required to provide information about the residential addresses of clients or patients where a practitioner provides a 'house call' service or otherwise visits residential premises.

 

6. The national boards and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency will develop guidelines about the practice information to be provided by practitioners under the new provisions of the bill.

 

7. The guidelines will provide practical information on how the provisions will apply, particularly to common employment, contracting and volunteering arrangements. As with all guidelines developed under the national law, there must be wide ranging consultation with stakeholders during their development.

 

8. The bill also makes it an offence to breach a prohibition order made in any state or territory, with a maximum penalty of $30,000. Although it is expected that practitioners will comply with prohibition orders made by a tribunal, until now it has not been an offence under the national law to contravene a prohibition order. The significant penalty associated with this offence is intended to deter anyone considering continuing to practice in contravention of such an order.

 

9. The bill will also require a practitioner who is subject to a prohibition order to inform patients and employers about the prohibition order before providing health services Details of a prohibition order will also need to be included in any advertising of the practitioner’s health services. These are further important safeguards for the public to ensure they are fully informed about any restrictions on a practitioner’s practice.

If a doctor nurse or other health professional make a mistake, they should not be treated a criminal. The current system has that effective, this legislation will make it worse.

 

We need true reform now; people’s lives and health depend on it.

 

The bill has been referred to committee for report back to the Queensland parliament by 11 August. The call for submissions closes on 11 July 2017.  Please make a submission.

 

Due to limited time, HPARA has made available Submission Proformas to support with the submission process.  For more information contact HPARA via its contact page.

 

Link to bill:

http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/documents/tableOffice/TabledPapers/2017/5517T908.pdf

Link to explanatory notes to bill:

https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/Bills/55PDF/2017/B16_0129_Health_Practitioner_Regulation_National_Law_and_Other_Legislation_Amendment_Bill_2017E.pdf

 

 

Your voice matters. Together we can make reform happen.

 

Media Inquiries – 0418 345 565 or 0419 197 867

Website: www.hpara.org.au