the matter will be closed with no adverse outcome for the practitioner."
The ordeal of an unnecessary unwarranted spurious complaint "not made in good faith"
#bullying We, as a Society must bother to determine who is genuine, and penalise #spuriouscomplaints.
Spurious complaints are a very cruel form of bullying where the bully uses authorities to carry out their bullying. Any reasonable Authority would not allow itself to be used by spurious complainant bullies.
Neurosurgeon Dr Charlie Teo says 'bullying culture' in medicine destroying lives, backs call for inquiry
Senator Xenophon described the complaints process for the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) as being "all about protecting a closed shop rather than the best standards of patient care".
His comments come after Lateline revealed how a French spinal surgeon was the subject of a series of complaints and audits which came from other doctors, who were, in some cases, his professional competitors.
Dr Richard Emery ultimately closed his practice and left Australia with his family.
Senator Xenophon said Dr Emery's case was not an isolated one.
"I've already had calls from some very senior surgeons around the country who say that what Dr Emery experienced is not unique and it raises some very disturbing questions about our health system," he said.
Dr Teo said it was time the system was reviewed.
There are unfortunately people that I know who are very guilty of bullying and discrimination, holding positions of authority in those bodies like the College of Surgeons and Hospital Medical advisory boards and expert advisory boards and associations.Dr Charlie Teo
"I can tell you stories where it has gone that one step further than Richard Emery," he said.
"Stories where good neurosurgeons ... good people doing exceptional things, pushing the envelope and making the established neurosurgeons look bad.
"The established neurosurgeons have then bullied this particular person, I'm talking about for more than seven years, resulting in his death by suicide eventually."
Dr Teo said a culture of bullying went right to the top of his profession.
"There are unfortunately people that I know who are very guilty of bullying and discrimination, holding positions of authority in those bodies like the College of Surgeons and Hospital Medical advisory boards and expert advisory boards and associations," he said.
Dr Mukesh Haikerwal is a former president of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and the chair of Beyond Blue's Doctors' Mental Health Program.
He believes the AHPRA complaints process is causing harm to the mental health of doctors.
"It's part of the problem because of the way it just jumps on people's potentially vexatious claims and takes them all seriously without first investigating them and that's really got to be moderated and changed to give more confidence in the system," he said.
Dr Haikerwal told a Senate inquiry four years ago he was concerned AHPRA's notification system would lead to doctors losing their jobs due to claims made in bad faith.
No-one from AHPRA was available for interview but in a statement, a spokesperson said: "If a notification is not made in good faith, and assessment finds no risk to the public, the matter will be closed with no adverse outcome for the practitioner.
"If the board has evidence that a registered health practitioner has made a notification not in good faith, it will investigate and take appropriate action."