March 2017

Update Medical Board of Australia

 

Latest tribunal decisions

Recent decisions have been published online

There are important lessons for registered medical practitioners from tribunal decisions. The Board refers the most serious concerns about medical practitioners to tribunals in each state and territory. Cases published recently have included:

Publication of panel, court and tribunal decisions

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), on behalf of the 14 National Boards, publishes a record of panel, court and tribunal decisions about registered health practitioners.

When investigating a notification, the Medical Board 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. Practitioners’ names are not published, consistent with the requirements of the National Law.

Summaries of tribunal or court cases are published at Tribunal decisions on the AHPRA website. The Board and AHPRA sometimes choose to not publish summaries, for example about cases involving practitioners with impairment.

In NSW and Queensland, different arrangements are in place. More information is available on AHPRA’s website under Notification outcomes and hearing decisions.

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Doctors' health programs

Doctors’ health advisory services now available across all states and territories

The Board is pleased to announce that doctors and medical students in all states and territories can now access help and support through the expanded network of doctors’ health advisory and referral services.

The national network of services is coordinated by Doctors’ Health Services Pty Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Australian Medical Association (AMA), and funded by the Medical Board of Australia.

The Board has significantly boosted resources to doctors’ health, sourced from within existing Board funds from registration fees paid by medical practitioners. The partnership with the AMA enables the health programs to be administered at arms’ length from the Board and AHPRA.

Confidential advice and support is available across Australia on the following help-lines:

  • New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory (02) 9437 6552
  • Victoria and Tasmania (03) 9495 6011
  • South Australia and the Northern Territory (08) 8366 0250
  • Queensland (07) 3833 4352
  • Western Australia (08) 9321 3098

Visit the drs4drs website to find out more. 

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Medical Board - 2015/16 Annual report

Medical profession annual report summary published

The medical profession-specific annual report summary outlining 2015/16 data has now been published. The summary provides a snapshot of our work regulating more than 100,000 registered medical practitioners in the financial year to 30 June 2016.

The report includes data on applications for registration by profession, outcomes of criminal history checks and segmentation of the registrant base by gender, profession and specialty.

Notifications information includes the number of complaints or concerns received by AHPRA, types of complaint, matters involving immediate action, monitoring and compliance, panels and tribunals, and statutory offence complaints.

From the report:

  • 107,179 medical practitioners were registered in 2015/16
  • student registration increased by 6%, to 19,760 in 2015/16
  • medical practitioners make up 16.3% of all registered health practitioners in Australia
  • 41.5% of medical practitioners are women
  • 1,542 medical practitioners were under 25 years of age and 1,251 were aged 80 or over
  • 3,147 notifications (complaints or concerns) were lodged with AHPRA about medical practitioners
  • 2,718 notifications about medical practitioners were closed in 2015/16. Of these:
    • 10% resulted in conditions being imposed or an undertaking accepted by the Board
    • 12.1% resulted in the Board issuing a caution or reprimand to the practitioner
    • 1.6% resulted in suspension or cancellation of registration, and
    • 71.2% resulted in the Board taking no further action. In these cases, the Board decided that, based on available information, no further regulatory action was needed to manage ongoing risk to the public
  • there were 1,843 open notifications about registered medical practitioners at the end of June 2016
  • 1,767 medical practitioners were actively monitored by AHPRA because conditions had been placed on their registration
  • immediate action was taken by the Board on 167 matters relating to medical practitioners in 2015/16, compared with 132 instances in 2014/15
  • 202 complaints were made about possible statutory offences by medical practitioners or medical services during the year, predominantly related to the use of protected titles or advertising concerns

To download the medical summary, or to view the full 2015/16 annual report and summaries by state or territory, visit the AHPRA website. 

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Quarterly registration data released.

Latest profession statistics released

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 specialty.

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 Queensland

After receiving accreditation advice from the Australian Medical Council, the Board approved the accredited four-year Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery and the four-year Doctor of Medicine programs of the University of Queensland as providing approved qualifications for the purposes of general registration to 31 March 2021.

University of Wollongong

After receiving accreditation advice from the Australian Medical Council, the Board approved the accredited four-year Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery and the four-year Doctor of Medicine programs of the University of Wollongong as providing approved qualifications for the purposes of general registration to 31 March 2023.

University of Western Australia

After receiving accreditation advice from the Australian Medical Council, the Board approved the accredited four-and-a-half-year Bachelor of Medicine / Bachelor of Surgery and the six-year Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery programs of the University of Western Australia as providing approved qualifications for the purposes of general registration to 31 March 2021.

The Australasian College of Dermatologists

After receiving accreditation advice from the Australian Medical Council, the Board approved the training, education and continuing professional development programs of the Australasian College of Dermatologists (ACD), leading to fellowship of the ACD as providing qualifications for the purposes of specialist registration to 31 March 2018. 

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News and alerts

Consultation for the review of National Scheme accreditation systems

The independent reviewer, Professor Michael Woods, invites interested parties to make a written submission about the accreditation systems under the National Scheme.

The review was requested by Australian health ministers following recommendations in the final report of the Independent Review of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for health professionals.

The review is looking at:

  • improvements to the system within the existing framework
  • ensuring the relevance and responsiveness of health education, and
  • the role of education and training, and its accreditation, in helping create Australia’s future health workforce.

The discussion paper is available on the COAG Health Council webpage. Submissions close 1 May 2017.

Media statements

AHPRA has made media statements about the following matters during the last month:

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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 30/03/2017