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Complaints against practitioners registered with one the 14 National Health Practitioner Boards, if judged serious enough, will be directed to the Health Practitioners Tribunal. Their website provides details on making an application to be heard, legal representation, appeals, and how the tribunal operates.

In general, AHPRA and the OHCC may investigate a complaint or notification, but it is the particular Board under which the practitioner is registered, or seeks registration, which will act as applicant or respondent when appearing before the Tribunal.

The Tasmanian Health Practitioners Tribunal deals with very few cases each year, which hopefully reflects on the excellent character of most health care professionals.

For a complaint to go beyond the OHCC it must be a serious matter concerning the activities of a particular professional. For the complaint to then go beyond the AHPRA and to the Tribunal the matter must concern the interests of the public. The penalty that is usually being considered is one of refusal of registration, suspension or deregistration, indicating the seriousness of the facts that end up before the Tribunal.

In 2013 the Tribunal heard two cases, one involving medical mispractice, with a general practitioner engaging in an emotionally unstable 4 year sexual relationship with a patient who was known to him to have anxiety issues, stemming in part from a history of sexual abuse. The practitioner was suspended for 12 months and ordered to pay the costs of the applicant, the Tasmania Board of the Medical Board of Australia. The second case involved an application to practise psychology in Tasmania. The applicant was refused registration on the consideration of the interests and well being of the public, as a psychologist’s report had indicated that the applicant had manifested narcissistic personality disorder and thus, with the rimary purpose of protecting the public interest in mind, the Tribunal could not be satisfied that the applicant was a suitable person for registration.

Other potential results of a Tribunal case include:

  • Periods of supervised practice
  • A formal reprimand
  • Regulation of work hours
  • Counselling or professional development courses

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