Vexatious notifications framework review

Learn more about our independent review into Ahpra’s framework for identifying and dealing with vexatious notifications

Own motion investigations

About the review

In June 2022 the Ombudsman and Commissioner commenced an independent review into the implementation of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency’s (Ahpra) framework for identifying and dealing with vexatious notifications (the Framework) at Ahpra’s invitation.

The framework outlines how Ahpra will identify potentially vexatious notifications and manage notifications where the information suggests a notification has been made with the intent to cause harm. Ahpra defines a vexatious notification as one that is ‘without substance, made with an intent to cause distress, detriment or harassment to a practitioner named in the notification’.

Ahpra published the Framework in December 2021 following recommendations made by the Senate Community Affairs References Committee in 2017 and the Ombudsman and Commissioner’s review into safeguarding the confidentiality of people making notifications in 2020.

Scope of the review

The review will consider, and where necessary make recommendations regarding, Ahpra’s approach to identifying and managing vexatious notifications. It will consider whether the framework has been effective and if it has had any unintended consequences. The review will be conducted in two parts.

Part one will specifically consider the Framework and the internal artefacts which explain how and when to apply it. This will include:

Part two will consider the way in which the Framework and its artefacts are applied in practice. This will include:

  • considering whether the implementation of the Framework and the artefacts has been successful and if there have been any unintended consequences
  • considering whether the Framework is being appropriately and consistently applied by Ahpra staff
  • considering whether any actions taken in response to a notification identified as vexatious have been adequate and in accordance with the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (the National Law)
  • considering whether there are any gaps in practice and whether the gaps are due to an inadequacy in the Framework and artefacts or another reason
  • any recommendations about further actions to be undertaken by Ahpra to enable more rapid and robust identification and management of potentially vexatious notifications.

The review will consider a range of information, including examples where the Framework has been applied by Ahpra, and targeted consultation with health practitioners and relevant organisations.

The review’s report, including details of the scope, method, findings and recommendations, will be provided to Ahpra’s CEO on completion. We anticipate the draft report will be ready for consultation with Ahpra by the end of 2022. The review’s report, and Ahpra’s response, will be published together.


Need more information?

Please contact us if you have any questions about the review.

Find out more about how to lodge a complaint.

Downloads

Download the Terms of Reference

Download the Terms of Reference

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