12 Mar 2014
AHPRA responds to parliamentary committee report.
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) today welcomed the report of the Legal and Social Issues Legislation Committee of the Victorian Parliament, which last year held an inquiry into the performance of AHPRA.
AHPRA engaged fully with the Committee during the Inquiry and welcomes its call for increased transparency, accountability and reporting to parliament.
“The forthcoming, independent three year review of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme is the right forum to explore how we can continue to strengthen the framework for regulating health practitioners in Australia, in a way that is nationally consistent, internationally benchmarked and in the public interest,” AHPRA CEO Martin Fletcher said.
“We advised the Committee that we would be concerned about the risks of making any substantial changes to the way we work in Victoria out of step from the three year review and the report’s findings reflect this,” he said.
During 2013, AHPRA appeared before the committee on several occasions and made detailed submissions about improvements to managing consumer complaints and public risk, and increasing accountability and reporting.
“Transparency, accountability, effectiveness, efficiency and fairness are the principles that underpin the National Law and guide the work of the National Scheme every day,” Mr Fletcher said.
“We are pleased that the Committee has recommended increasing local accountability by proposing more detailed reporting on our performance. We look forward to the work of the three year review, to make sure the information we report publicly helps Ministers, the community and health professions understand what we do and how we do it,” Mr Fletcher said.
AHPRA will examine the Committee’s findings about health consumer complaints to see what more we can do, ahead of the three year review.
Already, on top of our routine work to improve our management of notifications (complaints), AHPRA has:
- established a Community Reference Group to advise the National Scheme on issues that matter to health consumers and increase community engagement
- published plain-English information for consumers about raising a concern about a health practitioner
- engaged Victoria’s Health Issues Centre (HIC) to work with AHPRA and make practical suggestions for change to improve the experience of consumers who make a complaint about a registered health practitioner.
“As a direct result of the issues raised in the parliamentary inquiry, I have asked the HIC to tell us what practical actions we can take to increase public confidence in the way we work with the Health Services Commissioner (HSC) in Victoria to manage health complaints,” Mr Fletcher said.
AHPRA is already working with the HSC to streamline the complaint handling process between us.
“We want to make it clear to consumers who does what in the National Scheme, we want to communicate clearly about Board decisions and we want to make sure consumers are not disadvantaged by the way the law works or by the way we work together with the HSC,” Mr Fletcher said.
“Our work with the HIC is helping us find ways for us to improve. The government response to the 2012 review of the Health Services Commissioner may also address many concerns raised by consumers,” Mr Fletcher said.
The Parliamentary Committee report and the two minority reports are published here.
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