Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency - report 2013-14

Written on the 18 March 2015

18 March 2015
COUNCIL  Statements on reports and papers

GEORGIE CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan)

I am pleased to rise to speak on the annual report for 201314 for the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), which is responsible for the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme in partnership with the national boards. As members who were in the previous Parliament will recall, the Legal and Social Issues Legislation Committee, of which I was a member, undertook an inquiry into the performance of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency. As someone who has worked in the health system and was the former Parliamentary Secretary for Health, and as the former Minister for Health, who is in the chamber, will understand only too well, I believe the performance of our health practitioners underpins confidence in our health system and is incredibly important in maintaining the high-quality standards of healthcare we are afforded in this state. At this point I place on the record my support for the work of health professionals right across the board.

I acknowledge the work of Michael Gorton, AM, chair of the agency management committee of AHPRA. In his foreword to the report he notes that the focus during the year referenced in the report was on improving the experience of notifiers, improving and measuring the agency's performance and participating in and preparing for the review of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme.

The CEO of AHPRA, Martin Fletcher, who appeared before our inquiry, makes reference to the inquiry in this report, and says:

One of the significant events of the year for the national scheme was the inquiry by the Legal and Social Issues Legislation Committee of the Victorian Parliament into the performance of AHPRA. The committee handed down its findings in March 2014 and we welcomed its call for increased transparency, accountability and reporting to Parliament.

It was disappointing at the time we were conducting our inquiry that some members of the committee did not take the inquiry seriously. But the inquiry highlighted potential flaws in the agency's reporting mechanisms. That was demonstrated in our report. I note that some of the clerks in the house helped with that committee. I put on the record the significant amount of work that Richard Willis did in assisting us with that report. It was an important report because it highlighted some potential issues.

I return to the report that I am speaking on today and express my pleasure at the stats for 2014. I note on page 133 that the report goes into some detail about what happened to the notifications. As a committee we were concerned about the reporting mechanisms. When the scheme started out on 1 July 2010, the implementation process was quite a mess and there was a Senate inquiry into that. We did not look into that. We were looking into the notifications and protections that would ultimately lead to the protection of the Victorian public. Again going back to this report, details of the notifications closed in 201314 are listed by the profession and state or territory they relate to. The overall number for Victoria in 2012 was 1191; in 2013, 1552; and in 2014, 2090. Clearly the process is improving in relation to the notifications being handled in a timely manner, which was a concern of the committee.

I am pleased to see the improvements that have been made in the course of the year, and I note the comments of the CEO about our work. The national committee and board of AHPRA have taken that on board and taken it into consideration in relation to putting more efficiencies and improved services into their systems to enable those notifications to take place. I hope that continues. I am sure that quality health services will continue to be provided across the state, and I will watch with interest as AHPRA continues its work.

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