By Emily Baker - ABC News - 06.07.2023 - [AUSTRALIA] Almost 730 registered health professionals were accused of inappropriate behaviour or sexual misconduct by patients in the last financial year, new figures reveal.
The Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA) received 841 allegations of boundary violations – which refers to behaviours that violate the usual treating relationship — relating to 728 individual practitioners in 2022-23.
Boundary violations can range from inappropriate remarks and relationships to sexual assault and rape.
AHPRA chief executive Martin Fletcher encouraged patients to report incidents of inappropriate behaviour by registered health professionals.
"While it's distressing to hear about any case of sexual misconduct in the health system, it's even more devastating if these incidents go unreported," he said.
"Greater reporting provides greater opportunity to act. When we are told of instances where practitioners are failing to behave ethically and professionally, we have opportunities to respond."
Earlier this year, ABC's Four Corners revealed about one-third of nearly 500 practitioners who had been disciplined for sexual misconduct remained on the national register.
Patients complained of a complex and unwieldy process with often dissatisfying outcomes. If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can contact Dignity4Patients, whose helpline is open Monday to Thursday 10am to 4pm.