The Australian Medical Association Limited and state AMA entities comply with the Privacy Act 1988. Please refer to the AMA Privacy Policy to understand our commitment to you and information on how we store and protect your data.

×

Search

×

PSR – Reviewing the Review

The AMA has for many years been generally supportive of the Professional Services Review (PSR), but recent events have forced us to be more questioning of PSR practices.

21 Mar 2011

By AMA Vice-President Dr Steve Hambleton

The AMA has for many years been generally supportive of the Professional Services Review (PSR), but recent events have forced us to be more questioning of PSR practices.

The PSR, of course, is an independent statutory authority.

It was established to ensure that medical practitioners are practising appropriately providing clinically relevant services to a patient - under the Medicare Benefits and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Schemes.

It is an accepted principle of the PSR that only the medical peers of the practitioner under review are qualified to review the services provided by that medical practitioner and to make any findings about inappropriate practice.

The Government appoints PSR Panel members after consultation with the AMA.

Last year, some irregularities in the procedures relating to the appointment of a number of Panel members came to light.

As a result, the operation of all PSR Committees ceased while the irregularities were investigated.

Then, last November, Panel members were asked to resign and to nominate for reappointment should they wish to do so.

Given the doubt around the validity of the appointment of PSR Panel members, the Department of Health and Ageing and PSR Director Dr Tony Webber decided that the best approach was to cease all action on the 39 cases that were at some stage of investigation under the PSR Committee process.

It was expected that there would be too many challenges around the constitution of the PSR Committees.

The cleanest solution was to simply cancel all of these matters.

The 39 people concerned were sent letters advising them that no further action would be taken on their matters.

The PSR is hopeful that the 39 people are sufficiently chastened and understand how fortunate they have been to escape full investigation.

These people cannot be referred again to the PSR for the period that was the subject of these first referrals.

The PSR Advisory Committee will continue its current activity to review documents produced by the PSR setting out the operating protocols.

A new Panel will be appointed following consultation with the AMA and other professional medical organisations.

The Department is now arranging an external review of the governance of the PSR.

The AMA will stress that doctors continue to review the practice of other doctors.

We will also be looking closely at new processes and procedures to make the PSR work better for everybody.


Published: 21 Mar 2011