Chaperone system scrapped


By Mardi Chapman

13 Apr 2017

The chaperone system has been scrapped after a review found it was an ineffective way to deal with health professionals faced with allegations of sexual misconduct.

The review commissioned by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) found the current chaperone system did not protect patients from predatory doctors.

According to the report 39 doctors are currently working under mandated chaperone conditions.

Both the Medical Board and AHPRA have accepted all the review’s recommendations and will be establishing specialist teams within each organisation to better handle sexual misconduct complaints.

Under the new system doctors accused of sexual misconduct will face either an immediate suspension, or gender-based restrictions on their practice.

Medical Board of Australia Chair, Dr Joanna Flynn AM, said the review clearly sets out the problems with chaperone conditions and makes a compelling case for change.

‘We are confident that the vast majority of registered medical practitioners understand the importance of trust in the doctor patient relationship and want us to deal fairly and firmly with anyone who exploits this trust,’ she said.

The Board and AHPRA have committed to improve communication with people who report sexual misconduct and to establish clear inter-agency protocols with police departments.

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