Anna’s story

We received a complaint from a health practitioner, Anna, who had made a notification about herself to Ahpra

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We received a complaint from a health practitioner, Anna, who had made a notification about herself to Ahpra. Anna was concerned about the time Ahpra took to investigate the notification and refer it to the Board for a decision. Anna said the investigation took more than four years and that the matter had been repeatedly reallocated to different Ahpra case officers. She said there were also extended periods of time when she received no updates or communication from Ahpra. She found this lack of communication distressing.

Our office transferred the complaint to Ahpra (with Anna’s consent) through our early resolution transfer process. In response, Ahpra apologised to Anna and acknowledged that its investigation was unnecessarily delayed. Ahpra’s response did not, however, comprehensively explain why the investigation was delayed. After conducting preliminary inquiries to gather more information from Ahpra, our office commenced an investigation into Ahpra and the Board’s handling of the notification.

What we found

Our investigation found that there were significant delays with Ahpra and the Board’s handling of the notification about Anna. We found evidence of numerous and lengthy periods of inactivity in the investigation without reason. We also found that Ahpra had provided only three progress updates to Anna during the more-than-four-year investigation.

Ahpra acknowledged that its investigation was unacceptably slow, and apologised again to Anna for the delay. Ahpra also advised our office that it had taken steps to update its investigation processes to prevent similar delays. This included publishing internal staff guidance on the issues raised by the notification, making system improvements to provide better visibility and accountability for the timely completion of tasks, and providing increased support to staff with significant caseloads.

Complaint outcome

Our office provided feedback to Ahpra about its handling of the notification. While we acknowledged the steps taken by Ahpra to prevent similar delays in the future, we reminded Ahpra of the importance of providing timely updates to practitioners under investigation, particularly to alleviate distress during lengthy investigations.

Find out how to make a complaint to the Ombudsman or Commissioner.

Find out more about how to apply for review of Ahpra's FOI decision.

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