Submission to Senate inquiry into the medical complaints mechanism


Date: 22 February 2017

In 2016, the Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee conducted an inquiry into the medical complaints process in Australia.

The inquiry focused on the prevalence, reporting and processing of bullying and harassment complaints in the medical profession. During the inquiry, concerns were identified regarding administration and implementation of the complaints process. The Senate Committee recommended that a new inquiry be established to focus on the process itself, rather than the ways in which the process can be used and misused.

On 1 December 2016, the Senate referred a new inquiry into the complaints mechanism administered under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report. This new inquiry was the focus of the RACGP submission.

The RACGP submission reflects the feedback received from members. Many of the issues identified by member’s echoed issues outlined in the final report of the initial senate enquiry into the medical complaints process in Australia, particularly regarding the lack of:

  • an adequate process for vetting complaints
  • appropriate medical knowledge and/or specialty experience of investigators and/or board members
  • communication and transparency
  • timeliness
  • concern/recognition of the professional and personal consequences of investigations.