23 November 2023
Time to show those pesky patients
The Australian Patient Regulatory Authority (APRA) will enable doctors to submit formal complaints about their patients, it has emerged.
“APRA is a new body which will allow any doctor to submit anonymous on-line complaints about their patients” Professor Candid told Rheumatology Republic. “And if the initial feedback from our members is anything to go by it’s going to be pretty popular.”
“AHPRA, the current medical regulatory body, protects patients from underperforming doctors,” the Prof continued.
“This was always more relevant in an age when the power imbalance was firmly in favour of the profession. Nowadays, if the power imbalance in the doctor-patient relationship is viewed as a see-saw then the medical profession is a four-year-old girl while the patient is Mr Lardarse who weighs in at 150 kilograms.”
“I was sick to death of one of my patients,” Melbourne-based GP Dr Andrews told Rheumatology Republic.
“She couldn’t make it to the practice so I found time during my lunch break to visit her at home. When I got there I politely asked her if we could move her cat to another room because of my allergies.
“She then went and wrote a Google review about me. ‘Totally useless doctor, I phoned up in the morning but had to wait until lunchtime for him to come round, when he did eventually show up he sneezed all over me and hated on my cat. I’d give him zero stars if I could!’
“I was so frustrated that I didn’t know where to turn,” said Dr Andrews.
“I mean in this day and age a patient can make all sorts of vexatious complaints about you and write any kind of disparaging google review they fancy and there’s never any come back. That’s when I heard about APRA.”
Professor Candid told RR: “APRA can put various things in motion. We’ll notify the patient that Dr Andrews has made a formal complaint about her and then investigate her for several months before sending her on a mandatory self-improvement course.
“We’ll also keep her under regular review and if she offends again we’ll ban her from being a patient for a bit. That usually does the trick.
“The feedback we’ve had so far is that patients hate APRA,” admitted Professor Candid, “which tells us we must be doing something right!”