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Rockliff Must Act on Medical Misconduct Report

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Tuesday, 7 February 2023

Tags: Health, Tasmanian Health Service

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Health spokesperson

Revelations on Four Corners of the medical registration system's repeated failures to protect patients from sexual abuse and misconduct are appalling. They demand urgent action here in Tasmania.

Doctors and other medical professionals have been allowed to continue working, or return to work, despite shocking sexual misconduct and gross breaches of trust. It’s an opaque process for determining if and how medical professionals can return to work, with effectively no information for patients about whether their doctor has been found guilty of previous sexual misconduct.

Reform of medical regulatory bodies sits with state, territory, and federal Health Ministers – who are jointly responsible for the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for medical professionals.

Federal Health Minister Mark Butler is pushing for the next Health Ministers' Meeting to consider these matters. As Tasmania's Health Minister, Premier Rockliff has a crucial seat at the table.

The Premier can't solve this issue on his own, but he can – and must - play a key role. We are hoping to hear a strong statement from the Premier today, with his commitment to push for real reform and to implement all relevant recommendations.

As any recommended regulatory or legislative change won't happen overnight, the Premier should also seek advice on what can be done immediately in Tasmania to better safeguard patients. He should move to improve transparency under the current legal framework.

The Four Corners revelations would have caused disgust and horror among many Tasmanians, and raised questions in their mind about Tasmanian medical practitioners. The Premier should be clear about whether there are any medical practitioners with a history of sexual misconduct working in the THS.

It is the role of regulatory bodies to protect patients from sexual misconduct in the trusted doctor-patient relationship.

Given the clear evidence of system failures, the Premier needs to do everything possible to fix our Tasmanian processes so people can feel entirely safe when they are their most vulnerable.