Reporting of health practitioners by their treating practitioner under Australia’s national mandatory reporting law

Published today in the Medical Journal of Australia is an article by Marie Bismark & others, providing some useful data on the the frequency, nature and outcomes of reports about health practitioners made by their treating practitioners under Australia’s mandatory reporting system. The article is based on 846 mandatory reports over 2 years (2011 – 2013), though of those only 64 were by treating practitioners.

Interestingly, of the 64 ‘treating’ reports, only 14 were by regular care provider; most (50 of 64) arose from an encounter during an acute admission, first assessment or informal corridor consultation.

The authors conclude:

The nature and circumstances of the typical treating practitioner report challenge assumptions expressed in policy debates about the merits of the new mandatory reporting law. Mandatory reports by treating practitioners are rare. The typical report is about substance misuse or mental illness, is made by a doctor who is not the patient’s regular care provider, and identifies an impediment to safely managing the risk posed by the practitioner-patient within the confines of the treating relationship.