On 23 Jan 2014, an article appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald which started off with this:-
It was followed up with the comments by various people, some of them quite silly, on the ease or otherwise with which people can use modern information technology to get information on
Here are a couple of further paragraphs:-
And it ends up with a typically complacent comment from the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority, (AHPRA,):-
These are some facts.
(1) At times the AHPRA website is completely and utterly useless, in that, in carrying out searches on it, unless you use exactly the same spelling as they have, you won’t be able to access their information, and will think there isn’t any. This is a good example – Dr Urs of Paramatta has three given names, and unless you do a search using the third one as though it’s part of his surname i.e. do a search on “Krishne Urs,” Dr Urs’s information won’t come up. If you do a search on “Urs” you will think he is not registered. I have spent so many hours over the years trying to get AHPRA to address this problem and, of course, got nowhere. I even got a nonsense email from them at one stage saying that “Krishne Urs” was Dr Urs’s religious name in India, and that justified them in what they were doing!!!??? – which was/is hardly the point. And I could give you other examples.
(2) Under the AHPRA system, you are expected to do all sorts of other searches if you want information on the health practitioners they list. If you can’t find information on a health practitioner on their main database, you are even expected to do searches on their other databases – “Cancelled Health Practitioners” and “List of practitioners who have agreed not to practice.”
(3) At times, even though it’s not official AHPRA information on a practitioner, there’s information on the net that could be extremely important to those considering using him or her, but you are never going to be warned of this simply by going to the AHPRA website. A classic example of this is the case of the dentist, Mark Phung. On 1 Jul 2011, a judgement became available on the net setting out how someone who had sued Dr Phung for negligence was awarded nearly 1.4 million dollars in damages – click here to view this judgement. And on 23 Nov 2012, the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission issued a media release setting out how Dr Phung had been prosecuted – click here to view this media release. But you are not going to learn about either of these things simply by going to Dr Phung’s entry on the AHPRA website!!!???
The fact is that it’s kindergarten stuff these days to enable people to locate entries on health practitioners on a website, which don’t require them to get the spelling of names exactly right, and which have links on them to every bit of relevant information that’s on the world wide web. How do I know? Because I’ve being doing it for years – first with “MQ&A” and then with “bestdoctorssydney.” It’s been limited by my limited resources of time and money, but all the technology is readily available.
How long before it’s going to be done with the resources of government, or by anyone else with adequate resources? I wouldn’t be holding my breath.
Until then, “people are being put at risk” indeed.