March 2016

Update Medical Board of Australia

Chair’s message

In September this year the Medical Board and AHPRA will host the 12th International Conference on Medical Regulation in Melbourne. The theme of the conference is ‘Medical Regulation – making a difference’. IAMRA, the international association of medical regulators, has as its purpose ‘to protect, promote and maintain the health and safety of the public by ensuring proper standards for the profession of medicine’. Delegates from many countries will be sharing their experience and reflecting on how this is best achieved. There is always a balance to be struck between individual professional accountability and external regulation. Around the world the pendulum is swinging towards tighter regulation for two reasons. Sir Cyril Chantler wrote in The Lancet in 1999, ‘Medicine used to be simple, ineffective and safe. It is now complex, effective and potentially dangerous’. That’s the first reason. The second is that we live in an age of increased accountability and scrutiny and the public expects that regulators will identify and manage risks effectively. That’s the challenge!

Dr Joanna Flynn AM
Chair, Medical Board of Australia

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Social research on revalidation

Opportunity to have your say

As part of the ongoing work on revalidation, the Board has commissioned social research to find out what the profession and the community expects medical practitioners should do to demonstrate their ongoing competence to practise medicine to a high standard.

You may soon receive an invitation to complete an anonymous online survey. The survey will be sent to 15,000 randomly selected doctors to ask them for their views on revalidation. It consists of a short questionnaire asking doctors what they think influences the public’s confidence and trust in them, their views on what they need to do to maintain their knowledge and skills and how they can demonstrate they are up to date and can provide high quality care, including their views on current continuing professional development (CPD) arrangements. The Board will also use the opportunity to obtain information about how practitioners access information from the Board so that it can identify improvements to its communications with practitioners.

At the same time, the Board will survey the community to help it understand what the public expects medical practitioners to do to demonstrate that they are maintaining and enhancing the skills needed to practise medicine to a high standard.

The research is being undertaken by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of the Board. However, your personal details will not be provided to any external organisation. The survey link will be sent out by email by AHPRA and the online responses are completely anonymous. The Board will publish the collated and de-identified findings of the research later in 2016.

If you receive a survey we encourage you to participate – the Board wants your input.

More consultation will occur as this work progresses.

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Consultation.

Give us your feedback on draft revised registration standards

The Board is consulting on draft revised registration standards for:

  • granting general registration to medical practitioners in the Standard Pathway who hold an AMC certificate, and
  • specialist registration.

Granting general registration to medical practitioners in the Standard Pathway who hold an AMC Certificate

This standard sets out the Board’s requirements for granting general registration to medical practitioners who have been awarded the Australian Medical Council (AMC) certificate and who have successfully completed 12 months supervised practice in Australia.

AMC certificate holders have completed the AMC examinations and assessments. These are set at the level of medical knowledge and skills required of newly qualified graduates of Australian medical schools who are about to begin intern training.

The Board is not proposing significant changes to the current requirements for registration for AMC certificate holders. Changes are mostly editorial in nature, clarifying current requirements and updating the standard where necessary.

The main proposed change to the standard is removing the requirement for AMC certificate holders to provide evidence of completing an overseas medical internship (or comparable). AMC certificate holders’ performance will be assessed in the Australian context before they are eligible for general registration.

Under the current standard, AMC certificate holders who have not completed the full range of required experience can be granted general registration with a condition restricting them to the area of practice in which they have demonstrated competence and restricting them to a specific position. The proposed standard removes the requirement to impose a condition restricting them to a specific position.

Feedback

The Board welcomes feedback on the draft revised standard, which is available on the consultation page of the Board’s website.

Please provide written submissions by email, marked ‘Consultation – Draft revised registration standard for AMC certificate holders’ to medboardconsultation@ahpra.gov.au by close of business 31 May 2016.

We will generally publish submissions to consultations. More information about the consultation process is available in the consultation paper.

Registration standard for specialist registration

This standard sets out the Board’s requirements for granting specialist registration. The proposed changes to the current standard are mostly editorial in nature, restructuring and rewording the standard to improve readability and clarify current requirements. The Board has not proposed any significant changes to the current requirements for specialist registration.

Feedback

The Board welcomes feedback on the draft revised standard, which is available on the consultation page of the Board’s website.

Please provide written submissions by email, marked ‘Consultation – Draft revised registration standard for specialist registration’ to medboardconsultation@ahpra.gov.au by close of business 31 May 2016.

We will generally publish submissions to consultations. More information about the consultation process is available in the consultation paper.

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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.

Monash University

After receiving advice from the Australian Medical Council, the Board approved the accredited four-and five-year Doctor of Medicine (MD) programs of Monash University as providing qualifications for the purposes of general registration to 31 December 2017.

University of Notre Dame, Fremantle

After receiving advice from the Australian Medical Council, the Board approved the accredited four-year Doctor of Medicine (MD) program of the University of Notre Dame, Fremantle as providing a qualification for the purposes of general registration to 31 December 2016.

University of Western Australia

After receiving advice from the Australian Medical Council, the Board approved the accredited four-year Doctor of Medicine (MD) program of the University of Western Australia as providing a qualification for the purposes of general registration to 31 March 2019.

University of Western Australia

After receiving advice from the Australian Medical Council, the Board approved the accredited four-and-a-half-year and six-year Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) programs of the University of Western Australia as providing qualifications for the purposes of general registration to 31 March 2019.

Postgraduate Medical Council of Western Australia

After receiving advice from the Australian Medical Council, the Board approved the Postgraduate Medical Council of Western Australia (PMCWA) as an intern training accreditation authority in Western Australia to 31 March 2020.

Discontinuation of the Monash University Graduate Certificate in Medical Acupuncture

After receiving advice from Monash University that the Graduate Certificate in Medical Acupuncture has been discontinued, the Board cancelled its approval (prospectively) of the program of study (Monash University Graduate Certificate in Medical Acupuncture) for endorsement of medical registration.

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Panel, court and tribunal decisions.

Latest 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 tribunal or court cases. These can be sourced at 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

Medical Board of Australia v Hocking

The ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) has found Dr Richard Hocking engaged in unprofessional conduct. Read more in the tribunal summary.

Medical Board of Australia v Bourke

The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) has found that Dr Christopher Joseph Bourke engaged in unsatisfactory professional conduct. Read more in the tribunal summary.

Medical Board of Australia and Alam

The Northern Territory Health Professional Review Tribunal has found that Dr Shahin Alam engaged in unsatisfactory professional performance. Read more in the tribunal summary.

Medical Board of Australia v Al-Naser

The ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) has found that Dr Nathem Al Naser engaged in professional misconduct by failing to report another doctor’s conduct at his practice. Read more in the tribunal summary.

Kemp v Medical Board of Australia

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) has granted Dr Geoffrey Kemp a limited stay, giving him six weeks to find a supervisor and a group practice to work in, while other restrictions on his registration imposed by the Medical Board of Australia remain in place. Read more in the tribunal summary.

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