The National Association of Practising Psychiatrists Submission to the Draft Report – Independent Review of Accreditation Systems within the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for Health Professions’ (The Review) – September 2017
1. NAPP opposes the proposal to establish a Health Education and Accreditation Board, which would supervise the current independent Australian Medical Council, as well as produce directives to drive medical education and training.
2. The Governance reform goals contained in the Review lack the following essential goals and demonstrate the failure to consider the dangers of change and failure to include measurable outcomes of morbidity and mortality.
- Any change to the current system must not increase the mortality of the Australian population.
- Any change to the current system must not increase the mental ill health and physical health of the Australian population.
- Any change to the current system must not reduce the scientific knowledge and professional skills attained by the Medical and other health professionals under the current system of education and accreditation.
- Any change to the current system should be aimed at the outcome of increasing the longevity of the population.
- Any change to the current system should be aimed at the outcomes of increasing the mental health and physical health of the population.
- Any change to the current system must aim at the outcomes of increasing scientific knowledge and professional skills of medical and other health professionals.
- Any change to the current system should not devalue the benefit of difference in scientific knowledge and professional skills in different medical specialities and other health professions.
- Lessons learned from previous flawed legislation e.g. mandatory reporting should be applied here. Failure to listen to warnings from organisations has resulted in preventable tragedies.
3. The belief that a single committee can accredit a wide ranging, diverse and complex set of education and training objectives by controlling a number of subcommittees which then exercise supervision over a number of colleges and training organisations is perplexing. No evidence is advanced as to why this structure is necessary and how it would improve patient care. To the contrary, it appears to be an ambition of health economists based on non-scientific principles and workforce experimentation.
4. NAPP is concerned and alarmed at the following statement in the Review. “Although not referenced in the National Law, one of the principles is that “While we balance all the objectives of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme, our primary consideration is to protect the public. The Review considers that this is a retrograde step, with safety and quality potentially being offered as reasons to resist beneficial innovation and the development of a flexible, responsive and sustainable workforce”.1 (ASR Review,p.95)
5. For the review to state that it considers the safety of the public as a “retrograde step” can only mean that it intends or recommends the Sacrificing of safety and quality goals on the mistaken belief that by doing so, there will be beneficial innovation and the development of a flexible, responsive and sustainable workforce.
6. The critical question arising from this claim is ‘who will benefit if the public suffers increased morbidity and mortality because of a lower Standard of medical education and a less competent medical profession?’.
7. The reality is that when clinical standards of education and training are compromised and confounded with other objectives (economic or social), the vulnerable suffer. Quality medical care becomes more expensive and less accessible as the pool of those with greater clinical expertise declines. furthermore, those wishing to pursue a more science based education in medicine will pursue opportunities overseas and Australia will lose valuable talent.
8. Weakening medical education by the establishment of a government appointed accreditation board over the medical profession and the gutting of the current role and independence of the Australian Medical Council will be seen as a ‘dumbing down’ of Australian medical standards by doctors in current practice, medical students and most importantly the Australian public.
9. The National Association of Practising Psychiatrists calls on all Federal and State Health Ministers to reject any move to change the current role and independence of the Australian Medical Council in the interest of the welfare and well being of all Australians.
Dr Shirley Prager
National Association of Practicing Psychiatrists
16 October 2017
1 Australia’s Health Workforce: strengthening the education foundation. Independent Review of Accreditation Systems within the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for health professions. September 2017
FULL Document: NAPP Accreditation Review Submission