PSR Newsletter, March 2023
Message from the Acting Director
Welcome to the March 2023 edition of the quarterly PSR Panel Newsletter.
I wanted to acknowledge and thank everyone for the warm welcome and support you have all provided for me thus far.
This role is challenging and wonderful, and it is an incredible honour and privilege to be here, and a pleasure to work with an amazing team.
I started my PSR journey at the start, watching my boss head off to chair Committee #1 in 1995, and have been so fortunate to have met and worked with many of you over the years through reviews, committees, medical practice, DA, and other roles.
With the government’s continued commitment to health – Including highly relevant reviews of compliance, access, and the specific challenges faced by many patients and clinician groups –Medicare services and their costs continue to be a big topic in Australia today. Our role in this context remains vital – to protect patients and the community from the risks associated with inappropriate practice and to protect the Commonwealth from having to meet the cost of services provided as a result of inappropriate practice.
Your work as a panel member has never been more important or necessary, to assess these services with precision, integrity, diligence, and fairness. The whole team thanks you for your efforts as we pursue these goals.
Best wishes everyone, Antonio.
Vale Dr Bernard Kelly
Dr Antonio Di Dio MBBS, Acting Director PSR
The Sydney Morning Herald recently featured a lovely obituary of Dr Bernard Kelly. Among a remarkable list of achievements, Dr Kelly was heavily involved with PSR. Indeed, he was there at the beginning in 1994, and served on the very first Committee, PSR Committee 1, in 1995, as noted earlier. Bernie was one of my heroes. I loved that guy.
In 1985 I did my Sydney Uni 1st year medicine GP assignment on him, the local Redfern GP, and in 1994/5 I did my first ever GP term at his Redfern practice, nestled under the public housing towers, with him and the legendary Aunty Barbara, his infinitely patient receptionist. We bonded over many things including growing up with outdoor dunnies and underemployed family members during difficult times. On day 1 of GP life he made me do house calls with a doctor’s bag full of pethidine and other opiates, up and down the elevators of the three 15 storey Moreshead Street housing commission blocks, surrounded in those tiny spaces by all manner of intimidating people. None would give you trouble if you worked for Dr Kelly, he was so loved and feared. He introduced me to PSR right from its inception almost 30 years ago, when he would head off to chair Committees.
The PSR office was then housed at 18 Bentham Street Yarralumla, Canberra, a place I eventually came to know rather well, and where my practice still is. Bernie was acting Director many times, served on more committees than anyone ever has, and devoted himself to education, standards, teaching and fairness in all aspects of his personal and professional life. His family, unsurprisingly, were and are all wonderful too. You don’t meet true inspirations often in this life, and he was one. Hundreds of practitioners in Australia are better doctors, better advocates, better teachers, better regulators of the standards in their profession, and better people, by having met him.
PSR operations have returned to something approximately normal.
At the halfway mark in the financial year, 31 December 2022, PSR had received 53 requests to review, including 3 practitioners who had previously been referred.
PSR resolved 46 matters, comprised of 9 final determinations, 30 section 92 agreements and 7 decisions to take no further action.
A total of $7,395,451 in repayment directions were made from the finalised matters. Of the finalised matters, 21 involved some form of disqualification.
In this period 4 new peer review Committees were established and 4 practitioners were referred to AHPRA either due to significant patient safety concerns or non-compliance with professional standards.
PSR publishes a monthly summary of case outcomes on its website. Each outcome provides a summary of the person under review's practice profile (in comparison to their peers), the items investigated and the findings and the directions applied, or the agreement reached between the person under review and the Director. Case outcomes can be found on the PSR Website.
New appointments to the Professional Services Review
We welcome the following practitioners who have been newly appointed to the panel:
- Dr Helen Wilcox, general practitioner
- Dr Jennifer Shafer, general practitioner
- Dr Alan Leeb, general practitioner
- Dr Jonny Levy, general practitioner
- Dr David O’Rourke, obstetrician/gynaecologist
- Dr Tween Low, obstetrician/gynaecologist
- Professor Julie Quinlivan, obstetrician/gynaecologist
- Dr Sarah Yong, orthopaedic surgeon
- Dr Jennifer Green, orthopaedic surgeon
- Dr Sarah Coll, orthopaedic surgeon
- Dr Maurizio Damiani, orthopaedic surgeon
- Dr Niell Boustred, otolaryngologist
- Professor Peter Friedland, otolaryngologist
- Professor Simon Carney, otolaryngologist
- Dr Charles Brooker, pain medicine specialist
- Dr Murray Taverner, pain medicine specialist
- Dr Alistair Lochhead, pathologist
Panel Training 2023
This year’s training is approaching fast.
Panel members should have received an invitation for either:
- Saturday 20 May 2023 in Melbourne (also available remotely), or
- Saturday 27 May 2023 in Sydney.
More information will come as this progresses. We look forward to seeing you soon.
Federal Court Outcomes
Some recent Federal Court decisions are summarised on PSR’s website:
- Li v Determining Authority  FCA 1448, concerning the terms of the Determining Authority’s final determination. The summary for this matter can be found in the December Case Outcomes
- Norouzi v Determining Authority established by s 106Q of the Health Insurance Act 1973 (Cth)  FCA 35, concerning the terms of the Determining Authority’s final determination. The summary for this matter can be found in the January Case Outcomes
- Barnes v Director of Professional Services Review  FCA 129, concerning the terms of the Determining Authority’s final determination. The summary for this matter will be available in the February Case outcomes.
PSR Legislation changes
The Health Legislation Amendment (Medicare Compliance and Other Measures) Act 2022, passed by Parliament in December, has made some small amendments to the PSR scheme, so as to:
- allow section 92 agreements to be entered into by persons under review other than practitioners (including corporate entities)
- allow section 92 agreements to include additional forms of specified action, being:
- counselling, and
- where the agreement is with a corporate entity and services were provided by associated persons, the provisions of specified information to associated persons about the appropriate provision of services
- set out a process following which the Director can publish particulars of persons under review who fail to comply with the terms of a section 92 agreement
- enable Committees to require executive officers of corporate entities to attend Committee hearings
- differentiate the rights of natural persons and corporate entities before Committees
- introduce new offence and civil penalty provisions for failure to produce documents or give information in response to a notice issued by the Director or a Committee
- enable the Federal Court of Australia, upon notification by the Director, to inquire into failures by a corporate entity to produce documents or give information and make orders to comply.
During 2022, PSR completed a rebrand process. This resulted in a new colour scheme and a new graphic image. The logo was created by combining the images from the following PSR values:
PSR has used these colours and image to recreate our website, and this new branding will be progressively rolled out across all documents.
Continuing Medical Education (CME)
Any Panel members or consultants who have completed work for PSR and require evidence for continuing medical education points, please contact Megan Kilby at email@example.com