- You must notify the Medical Board if your right to work in a hospital or healthcare facility has been restricted or withdrawn
because of your conduct, professional performance or health.
- You must notify Avant if an incident occurs that is likely to result in a complaint or claim.
- This is undoubtedly a stressful time so seek support from Avant and your friends and family.
When suspended from practice
Suspension, either from a hospital or practice, is a highly stressful
event. Whatever the circumstances of your suspension, you
are likely to be experiencing a range of emotions including
frustration, self-doubt, anger, and/or anxiety about your personal
and professional future. You may also experience embarrassment
and humiliation. Some doctors even fear informing their family
about what has happened to them.
As an Avant member subject to a disciplinary investigation or
suspension, once your claim has been accepted you will have a
claims manager and medico-legal experts working to obtain the
best outcome for you.
Because of the often unexpected and immediate nature of a
decision suspending a doctor from practice, there may be little
time to make clear plans about what happens next, and what you
should or should not be doing. The following are some actions
you might wish to consider.
Speaking with others
Your letter of suspension is likely to direct that you do not speak
with anyone about the matter. This does not prevent you from
speaking with Avant or another chosen representative about the
reasons for your suspension and it does not prevent you from
speaking with your work colleagues about matters unrelated to
the reasons for your suspension.
Other actions that may arise
Depending on the reason for the suspension, the issues may be
considered by an external regulator as well as your employer.
- Your employer may notify the Medical Board.
- If the matter has the potential to be a criminal offence,
the police may wish to speak with you.
- The matter may be referred to the coroner.
- The matter may be referred to the credentialing committee
at your hospital.
Your Avant medico-legal experts will consider the entire context
of the matter when advising you.
Your personal belongings
You may wish to collect any significant personal belongings, so
they do not inadvertently go missing while you are away from
work. If you wish to collect personal belongings, you should
telephone your supervisor to arrange this or you could ask your
lawyer to make the call.
Personal mail / email
You may wish to arrange for personal mail (for example, journal
subscriptions) to be forwarded to you at home in the immediate
term. In the longer term, you should arrange for personal mail to
be sent to your home or another suitable address.
You may wish to arrange for an out of office message to be placed
on your email. If possible, the message could ask that personal
email (for example, from conference organisers or co-researchers
or Ahpra) be sent to your personal email address.
Leave during the period of your suspension
During your period of suspension, you must remain available
to assist your hospital or practice with its inquiries and/or
investigation. This does not prevent you from going about your
normal business and making plans. However, it does mean that
you should not take holidays without seeking approved leave.
If you wish to take leave, you should submit a leave application
form in the usual way.
You may wish to consider whether you need to make any changes
to your personal financial arrangements during your period of
Notification to the Medical Board and
If your right to practise in a hospital or healthcare facility is
restricted or withdrawn because of conduct, professional
performance or health, the Health Practitioner Regulation
National Law states that you must notify the Medical Board within
You may have an obligation to notify other parties of the
suspension (for example, private hospitals at which you are
accredited to work).
Notification to Avant
Most professional indemnity insurance providers, including Avant,
provide indemnity policies on a ‘claims made’ basis. This means
you must notify your insurer of any incidents likely to result in a
medico-legal claim. The circumstances resulting in suspension
would most likely require notification to your indemnity provider,
to ensure that you are covered for the incident under your policy..
Contact with the media
Your suspension may be considered newsworthy. The media
may contact you seeking information about your suspension.
We recommend that you speak with Avant before speaking with
You may wish to consider deactivating your social media accounts
(such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.) so that other people are
not able to leave comments that might be harmful to your case.
This is also not the forum to comment on or defend your position.
We recommend that you do not answer your phone if you do
not know the number. This will minimise the risk of unexpected
media queries or queries from well-meaning or less well-meaning
Finally, it is very important that you look after yourself at this
very stressful time. Please seek support if you require it.
Avant’s personal support program provides a range of services.
Further information can be found online at Key support services:
Avant members can also access independent and confidential
psychological support services as a free member benefit. Phone
1300 360 364.
You could also contact the Doctors Health Advisory Service and/
or medical benevolent association in your state or territory for