Complaints made against almost 200 Canberra health care workers: report

There were 194 complaints made against Canberra health workers in the past financial year. Photo: Joe Armao

There were 194 complaints made against Canberra health workers in the past financial year. Photo: Joe Armao


There were 194 complaints made against Canberra health workers in the 2014-2015 financial year, a new report has revealed.

Notifications were made against a range of workers including doctors, nurses, chiropractors, dentists, pharmacists and psychologists practising in the ACT, according to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency’s 2014-15 annual report.

Notifications, or complaints against registered health practitioners, dropped by 43.5 per cent in the ACT from the 267 recorded in the 2013-2014 year.

But there were more mandatory notifications – complaints that organisations are obliged to report under national law – made to the agency.

According to the report, 20 mandatory notifications were made against ACT health workers including against eight medical practitioners, eight nurses and four pharmacists, up from the 11 notifications lodged a year earlier.

None of these mandatory complaints were made against students, while one was in the 2013-14 year.

 The report says 155 Canberra workers had been monitored as of June 30.

Seven practitioners were monitored to ensure they practised safely and appropriately, either due to their criminal history or because they had not conducted themselves in line with expected professional standards.

Another 29 were watched after displaying a lack of knowledge, skill,  judgment or care in their line of work.

Meanwhile, 75 practitioners did not hold an approved or equivalent qualification; lacked required English language skills; had not practiced recently enough, or did not fully meet the requirements of approved registration standards.

Another 44 Canberrans were  monitored because of a physical or mental impairment, disability, condition or disorder – including substance abuse or dependence – that affected their work.

As of the middle of this year,  115 cases in the ACT remained under active compliance monitoring.

Another 15 registered health practioners and others in Canberra were slapped with statutory offences in breach of the law.

Offences can relate to unlawful use of titles, undertaking restricted acts, unlawful claims around registration and unlawful advertising.

Eight of these cases, involving a chiropractor, a dentist, a doctor, a nurse, an osteopath, a physiotherapist, a psychologist and a Canberran whose qualifications are unclear, were yet to be closed as of mid-this year.

?Nationally, the agency has prosecuted nine individuals across a number of jurisdictions in the Magistrate’s Court, while another four cases were before the courts. None of these, however, were based in the territory.

But two Canberra doctors, one nurse and two psychologists lodged appeals against previous decisions made before the courts in the ACT in the 2014-15 year.

 Throughout Australia,  177 appeals were lodged challenging decisions made under national law.

The most common appeals in the  past financial year related to decisions to refuse registration; impose or change conditions on a person’s registration or endorsement; conditions placed on a person’s registration, and the suspension of registration.

The majority of these appeals were lodged by doctors, nurses or midwives.