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Fraud, child porn and drug offences - the 9387 worrying complaints against doctors

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Almost 60 Queensland health practitioners were investigated for fraud, possession of child exploitation material, boundary violations and drug offences in the past year.

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The matters, which also included inappropriate prescribing, poor clinical performance and sexual assault, were all filed in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

And of 62 matters handled by QCAT which had been filed by the Health Ombudsman, 14 practitioners had their registration cancelled or were disqualified from applying for registration.

Another 19 were reprimanded or cautioned, 10 were issued with prohibition orders and nine were fined between $2000 and $25,000.

The Office of the Health Ombudsman has also permanently banned 11 health practitioners from practising in the past year.

The prohibition orders were handed out to unregistered health service providers who do not require registration under regulation. None of them sought a review of the decision.

The Health Ombudsman, during the past year, received 9387 complaints against health practitioners, down three per cent on the previous year. These were mostly health service complaints.

Medical practitioners accounted for 62 per cent of the complaints while 15 per cent related to nurses, nine per cent were dentists, six per cent psychologists and two per cent were against pharmacists.

About one-third of the complaints related to professional performance and 22 per cent concerned professional conduct.

And of the organisations identified in the complaints, 31 per cent were public hospitals, 24 per cent were correctional facilities and 11 per cent related to medical centres.

The outgoing Health Ombudsman, Andrew Brown, said in the annual report that for the first time since the office was set up, the number of contacts and complaints made to the ombudsman fell in the 2020-21 year.

This compared to the first six years of the OHO operation when the number of complaints more than doubled.

The OHO is Queensland’s health service complaints management agency, an independent statutory body for complaints.

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