Friday 13 April
AMSA applauds COAG decision to adopt a national framework for mandatory reporting
The Australian Medical Students Association (AMSA) extends its congratulations to the State and Territory Health Ministers for their unanimous decision to change mandatory reporting laws, announced after the Council Australian Governments met in Sydney today.
AMSA is the peak body representing Australia’s 17 000 medical students. President Ms Alex Farrell said, “We applaud this decision from the Ministers. This is good news for medical students, for doctors and for patients. This means that not only in WA but across Australia, students and doctors can now seek help without fear of being reported by their treating doctor.
“It sends a strong message about the culture of medicine, that we encourage people to talk about their mental health, to seek help early, and that doctors who find themselves on the other side as patients deserve the same access to care as everyone else.
“The Health Ministers have listened to students, listened to doctors, and they’ve come to the right decision.”
AMSA was not without some reservations, particularly where the strategy falls short of the exemplar WA model that is without any mandatory reporting by treating doctors.
“In particular, predicting future behaviour is a complicated area, and leaving this as grounds to affect a doctor’s registration and career is troubling. In revision of the reporting procedures, we hope that it is remembered that the aim is to help doctors, not punish them.”
“We look forward to continued discussion with the States and Territories as this legislation is crafted, to ensure that it reaches its full potential in removing barriers to appropriate mental health treatment once and for all.”
If you or someone you know needs help, mental health professionals are available at:
Headspace on 1800 650 890
Lifeline on 13 11 14