Dr Muller's story

Dr Muller made a complaint to the Ombudsman about Ahpra and the Medical Board’s handling of a verbal notification made about him

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Dr Muller made a complaint to the Ombudsman about the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency's (Ahpra) and the Medical Board of Australia’s handling of a verbal notification made about him.

Dr Muller was concerned he had been denied procedural fairness because Ahpra had not provided him with all relevant information, including a copy of the written record of the verbal notification. He also said Ahpra’s investigation into the notification was too long.

Our investigation found that despite repeated requests from Dr Muller, Ahpra provided the record of the verbal notification to Dr Muller two years after it was first requested. We also found that there was delay in progressing the notification, which took two years and eight months to finalise.

The Ombudsman provided formal comments and suggestions for improvement to Ahpra about the importance of procedural fairness and reducing delay. While the failure to provide the record of the verbal notification appeared to be due to a misunderstanding at Ahpra, the Ombudsman expressed disappointment that Ahpra did not respond to Dr Muller’s requests. The Ombudsman advised that Ahpra staff should more thoroughly address concerns raised by practitioners about a failure to disclose notification materials.

The Ombudsman also said the delay in the investigation of this matter was understandably very frustrating for Dr Muller, particularly because the Board ultimately decided to take no further action. While the notification involved some complexities that contributed to the delay, the Ombudsman said there was an unexplained gap of approximately one year where little progress was made on the matter. The Ombudsman acknowledged that while Ahpra is taking steps to avoid lengthy investigations, our office will continue to closely monitor this issue and would appreciate continued discussions about timeliness in the ongoing regular meetings between our office and Ahpra.

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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