A six-month Australian investigation Monday disclosed that 160 doctors, guilty of serious sexual assault claims from 2010, are still registered to practice by the Australian health system. The Four Corners investigation relied on published disciplinary decisions confirming cases of pedophilia, sexual misconduct and sexual harassment among others, towards both patients and colleagues.The 160 doctors have remained on the national register despite the filings and convictions. One of the cases , in which a 12-year-old complained of assault, took four years to resolve. Most of the doctors are still allowed to practice on the condition that they only treat patients of the same gender as the doctor. That condition stands as government investigations continue.The government responded to the investigation. Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler said, “I am writing to the chair of the Health Ministers Meeting to put this issue on the agenda at our next meeting, including a rapid review of the response by jurisdictions to previous reviews.” The Senate has also launched inquiries into the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency’s (AHPRA) ability to do its job in the face of transparency problems in conducting investigations.Chief Executive of AHPRA Martin Fletcher said that recent amendments to health regulation laws could result in fewer transparency problems. That said, Fletcher noted further legal reform would be needed to open the investigations to the public to ensure total transparency.The Australian Medical Association, the representative body for doctors, declined an interview with Four Corners during the investigation.
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