A complaint about a medical practitioner may be made and dealt with even though the practitioner has ceased to be registered. Any of the following complaints can be made about a registered medical practitioner:
- A complaint that the practitioner has, either in this State or elsewhere, been convicted of or made the subject of a criminal finding for an offence.
- A complaint that the practitioner has been guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct or professional misconduct.
- A complaint that the practitioner is not competent to practise medicine (that is, the person does not have sufficient physical capacity, mental capacity or skill to practise medicine or does not have sufficient communication skills for the practice of medicine, including an adequate command of the English language).
- A complaint that the practitioner has an impairment.
- A complaint that the practitioner is otherwise not a suitable person to hold registration in the practitioner's profession.
Any of the following complaints can be made about a medical student:
- A complaint that a student has, either in this State of elsewhere, been charged with an offence, or has been convicted of or made the subject of a criminal finding for an offence, that is punishable by 12 months imprisonment or more.
- A complaint that a student has an impairment.
- A complaint that a student has contravened a condition of the student's registration or an undertaking given by the student to the National Board.
Certain mandatory notifications also apply regarding 'notifiable conduct' by doctors and medical students. For further information please see: www.medicalboard.gov.au
Definition of Unsatisfactory Professional Conduct and Professional Misconduct
Unsatisfactory professional conduct has a specific, statutory definition outlined in sections 139B and 139C of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (NSW), and includes:
- any conduct that demonstrates a lack of adequate knowledge, skill, judgment or care, by the practitioner in the practice of medicine
- contravention of the National Law (NSW) or Regulations
- contravention of conditions of registration or undertakings
- failure to comply with a decision or order (of a Committee or Tribunal)
- contravention of requirement under the Health Care Complaints Act 1993
- accepting a benefit for a referral or recommendation to a health service provider
- accepting a benefit for a recommendation of a health product
- offering a benefit for a referral or recommendation
- failure to disclose pecuniary interest in giving a referral or recommendation
- engaging in overservicing
- permitting an assistant to attend, treat or perform operations on patients in matters requiring professional discretion or skill
- criminal convictions and criminal findings
- assisting unregistered practitioners
- failing to render urgent attention
- other improper or unethical conduct
For the purposes of the National Law (NSW), professional misconduct of a registered medical practitioner means unsatisfactory professional conduct, or more than one instance of unsatisfactory professional conduct that considered together, is of a sufficiently serious nature to justify suspension of the practitioner from practising medicine or the removal of the practitioner's name from the Register.