December 2014

Update Medical Board of Australia

Chair’s message

This is the tenth and final edition of the Medical Board Update for 2014. The renewal process for 2014 has been completed and we are about to welcome almost 3,900 new graduates to the profession. As interns they will be working and learning in an environment supported by a National Training Accreditation Framework developed by the Australian Medical Council and approved by the Medical Board. This is just one example of the work that has been completed since the introduction of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (the National Scheme) to facilitate high quality education and training and workforce mobility.

The expectations that people have of their doctors may vary but in essence people want to be treated with respect and cared for by competent practitioners who work in a safe system. The Medical Board's major purpose is to protect the public by regulating standards of medical practice and managing risk to the public where registered practitioners fall short. The medical profession in Australia is held in high regard and justifiably so. The end of a year is an appropriate time to reflect and appreciate those who deliver high quality care, those who generously teach and mentor their colleagues and all who ensure that the medical profession is trustworthy and accountable. 

Dr Joanna Flynn AM
Chair, Medical Board of Australia

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Recruitment.

Senior Professional Officer required

AHPRA and the Medical Board are looking for a registered medical practitioner to oversee the implementation of the Board’s national performance assessment program for medical practitioners. The Board may require a practitioner to undergo a performance assessment as one of the steps in investigating a notification which raises concerns about whether the way a practitioner provides care to their patients is safe.

The role will include providing authoritative medical advice on performance assessment of medical practitioners and the conduct of investigations into performance issues, as well as defining the project scope and deliverables that support the consistent ongoing use of performance assessment in medicine.

The role is part time (2–4 days) and can be based in any state or territory.

See the AHPRA website for the position description and more information.

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Quarterly registration data released.

Detailed information on the profession

The Board publishes statistics each quarter profiling the profession. Data are broken down by state and territory, by registration type and for specialists by specialty and field of speciality.

The latest data have just been released and are available on the Board’s website under Statistics on the News page.

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Accreditation

Providing high quality education and training

One of the objectives of the National Law is to facilitate the provision of high quality education and training of health practitioners. The accreditation function is the primary way of achieving this. More information about the Medical Board’s accreditation function is available on our Accreditation page.

University of Newcastle/University of New England

After receiving accreditation advice from the Australian Medical Council, the Board approved the accredited five-year Bachelor of Medicine program of the University of Newcastle/University of New England as providing a qualification for the purposes of general registration until 31 March 2019.

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News and alerts

AMA guidelines for clinical images and use of personal mobile devices

The Australian Medical Association (AMA), together with the Medical Indemnity Insurance Association of Australia (MIIAA), has developed a guide on clinical images and the use of personal mobile devices for doctors and medical students.

The guide, Clinical images and the use of personal mobile devices, details the key ethical and legal issues doctors need to be aware of before using a personal mobile device to take or transmit clinical images for the purpose of providing clinical care in the Australian healthcare system.

The guide is available on the AMA website.

Call for applications: medical practitioner members for selected state and territory medical boards

The following state and territory medical boards are seeking medical practitioners to be appointed as practitioner members:

  • Northern Territory Board of the Medical Board of Australia 
  • South Australian Board of the Medical Board of Australia 
  • Victorian Board of the Medical Board of Australia.

For further information, go to News>Call for applications on our website.

Data Access and Research Committee (DARC)

One of the objectives of the National Scheme is to protect the public by ensuring that only health practitioners who are suitably trained and qualified to practise in a competent and ethical manner are registered. To achieve this objective AHPRA and the National Boards are increasing the use of data and research to inform policy and regulatory decision-making. Specifically, we’re building organisational capacity for analysis, supporting external collaboration on regulatory research, and conducting or supporting high value regulatory research and analysis.

To do this well, we must effectively govern access to data generated by the National Scheme. We can provide access to de-identified data, as governed by the National Law and the relevant privacy laws and policies, but strict limits exist. These limitations are explained on the AHPRA website, which also includes a downloadable data access and research application form for interested researchers.

AHPRA and the National Boards encourage applications from researchers whose projects aim to deliver regulatory improvement and health workforce reform.

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Panel, court and tribunal decisions

Panel, court and tribunal decisions published online

AHPRA on behalf of the 14 National Boards publishes a record of panel, court and tribunal decisions about registered health practitioners. Summaries are published when there is clinical and educational value.

Court and tribunal decisions

Under the National Law, the Board must refer a matter about a registered medical practitioner or student to a tribunal if the Board reasonably believes that the practitioner has behaved in a way that constitutes professional misconduct; or the practitioner’s registration was improperly obtained because the Board was given false or misleading information. The Board must also refer the matter to a tribunal if a panel established by the Board requires the Board to do so.

Medical practitioners may also appeal certain decisions of the Board to a tribunal, or court.

AHPRA publishes summaries of selected tribunal or court cases from time to time. These can be sourced at Publications>Tribunal decisions on the AHPRA website. A full library of published hearing decisions from tribunals or courts relating to complaints and notifications made about health practitioners or students is available on the Austlii website.

Recent decisions of tribunals:

Ibrahim v Medical Board of Australia 

The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal dismissed an appeal by Dr Ashraf Ibrahim Abdou Ibrahim against a Medical Board of Australia decision to refuse his application for limited registration. Read more in the media release.

Medical Board of Australia and Langton 

The State Administrative Tribunal of Western Australia has suspended the medical registration of Dr Paul Langton for 18 months, reprimanded him and fined him $30,000 for professional misconduct. Read more in the media release.

Medical Board of Australia and Eldred 

The State Administrative Tribunal of Western Australia has reprimanded Dr Gareth Eldred, cancelled his registration as a medical practitioner and disqualified him from applying for registration for 18 months. Read more in the media release.

Medical Board of Australia v Doolabh

The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal has reprimanded Dr Bharat Doolabh, suspended his registration for 12 months and imposed conditions on his registration as a medical practitioner. Read more in the media release.

Panel hearings

When investigating a notification, state and territory committees of the Medical Board of Australia may refer a medical practitioner to a health panel hearing, or a performance and professional standards panel hearing.

Under the National Law, panel hearings are not open to the public. AHPRA publishes a record of panel hearing decisions made since July 2010. Summaries have been provided when there is educational and clinical value. These summaries are accessible from hyperlinks within the table. Practitioners' names are not published, consistent with the requirements of the National Law. This table does not include summaries of panel decisions made under previous legislation, even if these were held after July 2010.

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Contacting the Board

  • The Medical Board of Australia and AHPRA can be contacted by phone on 1300 419 495.
  • For more information, see the Medical Board of Australia website and the AHPRA website.
  • Lodge an enquiry form through the website under Contact us at the bottom of every web page.
  • Mail correspondence can be addressed to: Dr Joanna Flynn AM, Chair, Medical Board of Australia, GPO Box 9958, Melbourne, VIC 3001.

More information

Please note: Practitioners are responsible for keeping up to date with the Board’s expectations about their professional obligations. The Board publishes standards, codes and guidelines as well as alerts in its newsletter. If you unsubscribe from this newsletter you are still required to keep up to date with information published on the Board’s website.

Comment on the Board newsletter is welcome and should be sent to newsletters@ahpra.gov.au.

For registration enquiries or contact detail changes, call the AHPRA customer service team on 1300 419 495 (from within Australia).

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Page reviewed 20/02/2017