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Bullying and Harassment in Medicine – AMSA’s Response to the Senate Inquiry

07 Nov 2016

The Senate Inquiry into Medical Complaints Processes in Australia was conducted during 2016. This inquiry accepted written submissions and verbal testimony.

The written submission developed by AMSA can be viewed here.

The 2016 President of the Australian Medical Students' Association, Elise Buisson, gave evidence to the inquiry during its hearing on November 1, 2016. The transcript of this testimony can be found here.

The inquiry upheld AMSA's recommendations in its report, in many cases directly quoting Ms Buisson. The full report can be found here.

The terms of reference for the Senate Inquiry were as follows.

The medical complaints process in Australia, with particular reference to:

  1. the prevalence of bullying and harassment in Australia’s medical profession;
  2. any barriers, whether real or perceived, to medical practitioners reporting bullying and harassment;
  3. the roles of the Medical Board of Australia, the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency and other relevant organisations in managing investigations into the professional conduct (including allegations of bullying and harassment), performance or health of a registered medical practitioner or student;
  4. the operation of the Health Practitioners Regulation National Law Act 2009 (the National Law), particularly as it relates to the complaints handling process;
  5. whether the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme, established under the National Law, results in better health outcomes for patients, and supports a world-class standard of medical care in Australia;
  6. the benefits of ‘benchmarking’ complaints about complication rates of particular medical practitioners against complication rates for the same procedure against other similarly qualified and experienced medical practitioners when assessing complaints;
  7. the desirability of requiring complainants to sign a declaration that their complaint is being made in good faith; and
  8. any related matters.

Published: 07 Nov 2016