14 Feb 2023
Australia’s health practitioner regulator has outlined a blueprint to better protect patients from sexual misconduct in healthcare, as well as a range of broader reforms to keep patients safe.
Some things Ahpra can do quickly, others will require legislative change. The reforms aim to better protect patients from sexual misconduct in healthcare, raise the bar for patient safety, increase transparency and increase support for victims.
`Sexual exploitation of patients is a gross abuse of trust and can lead to long lasting and profound damage. Health practitioners are in positions of power and responsibility and patients are vulnerable,’ Ahpra CEO Martin Fletcher said.
‘The community rightly expects that only practitioners who are fit to practice will be registered and that regulators will take prompt action to protect patients from sexual misconduct by health practitioners.’
‘We have learnt from history and made many changes to better protect patients from sexual misconduct over the past five years, but there is always scope to improve and do more,’ Mr Fletcher said.
To improve it’s handling of sexual boundary matters, Ahpra and National Boards will:
Ahpra has also presented a wider blueprint for reform to all states and territories to provide a more transparent regulatory system for patients and the public.
A number of these measures require National Law amendments and cross-jurisdiction support, including:
We have also asked ministers to consider options to streamline the system of health practitioner regulation in Australia – especially in complaints management - so there is less duplication. We need more consistency in approach and decision making and it has to be easier for patients to know where to go.
‘Keeping the public safe is always our focus. We look forward to doing our part and working with governments and other regulators to get the job done,’ Mr Fletcher said.