MIGA devotes much time in its advocacy work to keeping your professional regulation sensible, practical and fair.
A recent win for MIGA’s advocacy is the Australian Health Ministers’ decision not to pursue very significant changes to professional regulation, including:
- Reporting medical negligence settlements or judgments to the Medical Board
- Making a doctor’s disciplinary history publicly available
- Giving complainants the right of review of Medical Board decisions
- More information sharing and joint investigations between regulators
- Compelling release of self-incriminating information
- Requiring disclosure of reasons for interim chaperone conditions to patients before a decision had been made on the merits of a complaint.
MIGA opposed these changes for a range of reasons, including that they were unwarranted or inappropriate. It supports a primary focus on public health and safety, but fairness is imperative.
Health Ministers are instead pursuing other changes, a range of which have been modified in line with MIGA proposals, including:
- Threshold for employers being required to notify AHPRA of restrictions imposed on practitioners who work for them
- Processes the Medical Board must follow if it decides to change its mind on proposed regulatory or disciplinary action
- Ensuring regulators only issue public warnings about a practitioner if there is a serious public risk.
An important proposal which MIGA strongly supported was giving the Medical Board power to remove certain personal details about a doctor from the public register if there are risks to the safety of themselves, their family or colleagues. Doctors and those close to them must be protected in situations of domestic violence and risks posed from other sources.
Much work remains to be done on revised proposals. Given the scale of what is involved, reforms are not expected to start until 2021.
MIGA is involved in consultation with Health Ministers on further professional regulation changes, including:
- Ensuring professional regulation has public health and safety as its paramount consideration. MIGA supports this proposal, and believes both regulators and the medical profession already share this approach
- Making ‘public confidence’ a guiding principle of professional regulation. MIGA opposes this proposal. It poses very significant risks of putting regulators under pressure to take quick and drastic action which can be demanded in certain situations, but which can be disproportionate and unwarranted
- Allowing the Medical Board/AHPRA to notify employers of complaints against a doctor before any action is taken. MIGA acknowledges the need for this in clear and compelling situations of serious risk to public health and safety, but the complexity of mandatory reporting issues (where MIGA has played a key role) show how important it is to get the balance right between public safety and fairness to a practitioner.
We will keep you updated on the progress of these changes, and our work on them.