Dr Richard Hocking (above) establishes private practice.
Dr Richard Hocking (above) establishes private practice. News Corp

Controversial surgeon Richard Hocking takes service private

CONTROVERSIAL Bundaberg Hospital orthopaedic surgeon Doctor Richard Hocking has established a private practice in town.

Dr Hocking has set up a shop front out of the Friendlies Medical Suites on Crofton St.

The Coral Coast Orthopaedics website says the practice will cater to hip and knee, sports, shoulder, foot and ankle, and trauma surgeries.

Dr Hocking came under fire earlier this year when it was revealed under Right to Information laws that he was the subject of nine complaints within the Bundaberg Hospital health system.

The complaints were levelled at his "communication style".

The Bundaberg complaints come on the back of an investigation into his work in Canberra by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

On his website, Dr Hocking says he was the subject of a "campaign of complaints", which he says became a media sensation.

"Unfortunately, the workplace is not always harmonious and regrettably medicine is not exempt from this.

"Surgery as a profession has recently had to admit that there has been a pervasive culture of bullying and intimidation within the profession.

"Complaints to professional regulators about marketplace competitors is one of the modes of harassment that has unfortunately been noted to be commonplace," the website reads.

"Having now resolved the claims made against him, Dr Hocking decided that a change in pace and climate was in order, and so made the decision to move to a rural Queensland practice."

While the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Services could not comment on the arrangements of individual doctors, they said any WBHHS doctors who exercised their right of private practice were subject to robust governance and regulatory framework.

"These doctors work less than five days a week for our service and undertake private work on non-rostered days. Usually this private work is elective rather than acute emergency," a spokesman said.

"WBHHS doctors who undertake private practice are also educated on strategies to manage and monitor their personal fatigue."

He said there was no conflict of interest as offsite private practice takes place at different times to a doctor's public health shifts and public doctors undertaking private clinical work was "common practice" and beneficial for areas like Bundaberg.

"This is beneficial to our public hospitals as it helps attract and retain a highly-skilled clinical workforce and enhances the sustainability of the public health system," he said.

"There are a number of ways that private practice can occur, including: A doctor who works some days of a fortnight in a public hospital and other days in the private system. This is particularly important for regional communities such as Bundaberg as it helps attract and retain doctors.

"Some medical officers in rural public health facilities have a right to private practice as GPs in these rural communities. This arrangement is crucial to providing both public hospital and GP services in these communities."

Coral Coast Orthopaedic Services confirmed that Dr Hocking is commencing a private practice in Bundaberg based out of the Friendlies Medical Suites and the Friendly Society Private Hospital.

"Dr Hocking's private practice intends to add to the medical services available to the Wide Bay community by now offering the community choice to have the procedures that Dr Hocking currently performs in the public hospital available in the private sector also," Coral Coast Orthopaedic Services spokeswoman said.

"Dr Hocking looks forward to providing services for the whole Wide Bay community."

Private patients can elect to utilise their private health insurance when being treated at a public hospital.

"This accounts for 35% of Queensland Health's annual outpatient activity and approximately 10% of acute inpatient activity," he said.

"This generates in excess of $500 million annually in gross revenue for the public health sector which then is reinvested in our public health services."

For more information on Dr Hocking's practice or to book an appointment visit www.ccortho.com.au.

The regular framework, can be found at http://bit.ly/2vWGsot.

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