26 Jun 2019
‘If there’s one thing I could do differently about that whole process, I would go and talk to someone right at the beginning’ – these are the words from a medical practitioner in a new video from the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and National Boards.
The video, launched today, is a firsthand account of a practitioner’s experience of what it is like to be the subject of a notification with the regulator.
‘Practitioners have told us that notifications are stressful for them and their families’, said AHPRA CEO Mr Martin Fletcher. ‘We are listening to what practitioners are telling us to develop resources such as this video.’
AHPRA has gathered feedback from notifiers and practitioners about what it is like to go through the notifications process. After over 80 interviews and more than 5000 survey responses, a small number of consistent themes have emerged as important factors for notifiers and practitioners.
‘The need for support described by this practitioner speaks to all 16 regulated professions whether they are an optometrist, chiropractor or dental practitioner,’ said Mr Ian Bluntish Co-Chair of the Forum of National Registration and Accreditation Scheme Chairs.
Medical Board of Australia Chair, Dr Anne Tonkin said that the video reminds practitioners that getting good support early on can make a big difference.
‘For practitioners, we hear again and again about the fear they feel when they receive a letter from AHPRA. Yes, a letter can mean someone has raised a concern about their practice, but it doesn’t mean that their career is over. Many health practitioners may at some stage have a concern raised about them to AHPRA, their employer or another health complaints organisation.
‘We understand this can be a daunting experience. We encourage all practitioners to seek the support they need to be healthy at all times—and this is particularly important during a notification,’ she said.
Australia Medical Association (AMA) President, Dr Tony Bartone, says that doctors’ health is a priority for the AMA and the profession. Notifications can be a difficult and potentially confronting time and have the ability to significantly impact the health of the doctor.
‘This new AHPRA video is an excellent resource to encourage doctors to be open and honest about their experience during a notification process. It’s especially important to talk about your health, and to share your concerns with fellow doctors, family, or friends,’ Dr Bartone said.
‘Doctors need to understand that many of our colleagues may receive a notification. It is not something to be embarrassed or ashamed about. It should not stop anyone from asking for help.
‘Many doctors feel angry, anxious, even depressed through a notification process. This video shows that they are not alone.
‘I encourage any doctor who needs support during a notification process to seek the help they need,’ Dr Bartone said.
Registered health practitioners and their support networks will be encouraged to use this new resource when they are involved in the notifications process.
You can view the video below or on the AHPRA website, YouTube and Vimeo channels.