Medical Board of Australia

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Medical Board of Australia
 

November 2015

Update Medical Board of Australia

Annual report published.

2014/15 annual report now available

The 2014/15 annual report of AHPRA and the National Boards has been published.

The report details the work of the National Boards and AHPRA in implementing the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme over the 12 months to 30 June 2015.

There are now more than 637,218 health practitioners registered to practise in Australia, from 14 different professions, representing overall growth of 2.9% over the past year.

From the annual report:

  • at 30 June 2015, there were 103,133 registered medical practitioners in Australia, representing an increase of 3.8% 
  • the state with the largest number of medical practitioners is NSW (32,183); the state with the smallest number of medical practitioners is the NT (1,101) 
  • 41% of registered medical practitioners are women 
  • 40% of registered medical practitioners are aged under 40 
  • 6% of registered medical practitioners are aged 70 or over 
  • the average age of medical practitioners is 45 
  • 54% of notifications in the National Scheme were about medical practitioners, who make up 16% of all practitioners 
  • there were 2,514 notifications (excluding NSW) lodged about medical practitioners in the reporting year – this was a 19% decrease compared with 2013/14 
  • Victoria received more notifications about medical practitioners than any other state or territory (outside of NSW) with 1,016 notifications 
  • there were 212 mandatory notifications about medical practitioners nationally – this is a decrease from the 351 mandatory notifications last year 
  • the medical boards took ‘immediate action’ 199 times (including NSW) 
  • a total of 2,954 notifications (excluding NSW) were closed 
  • in 2,233 of the closed cases, the Board decided to take no further regulatory action, the matter was referred to another body or the case was managed by the health complaints entity 
  • 18 of the closed cases resulted in cancellation or suspension of registration 
  • there were 300 advertising related complaints across all the professions 
  • five cases of falsely claiming to be a registered health practitioner were successfully prosecuted before the courts, and 
  • AHPRA received 73 requests for access to (de-identified) health practitioner data and information for research purposes.

Note: Queensland became a co-regulatory jurisdiction on 1 July 2014 and the Office of the Health Ombudsman (OHO) now receives all health complaints in Queensland. The OHO decides whether to retain the complaint or refer it to AHPRA. Therefore, AHPRA data does not include all Queensland matters. The number of matters referred to National Boards and AHPRA by the OHO in Queensland this year was 61% lower than the number of notifications received directly by AHPRA the previous year. This reduction has had a significant impact on the national figures.

The 2014/15 annual report includes some profession-specific data but a more detailed report, with data specific to medical practitioners, will be published on the Board’s website in coming months.

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Health profession agreement published.

Services and funding for 2015/16

The Board and AHPRA have published the Health Profession Agreement (HPA) that outlines the partnership between the Board and AHPRA, and the services AHPRA will provide to the Board in 2015/16. The HPA also provides information about the Board’s financial operations and fees. In addition to the regular work of the Board, each year the Board also funds a number of projects and initiatives that are detailed in the Board’s 2015/16 work plan (Schedule 2 of the HPA).

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Revised supervision guidelines for international medical graduates (IMGs)

Guidelines for supervised practice for IMGs take effect 4 January 2016

Supervision is a requirement of registration for all international medical graduates (IMGs) who are granted limited registration or provisional registration. The Board has revised the supervision guidelines for IMGs and the new Guidelines - Supervised practice for international medical graduates will come into effect on 4 January 2016. They will replace the current Guidelines for supervised practice for limited registration.

They provide guidance to supervisors and IMGs, and outline the principles of supervision and the Board’s expectations of IMGs, their supervisors and employers.

In this latest revision, the guidelines have been reformatted and reworded to make them clearer.

The key changes to supervision arrangements for IMGs are:

  • changes to the requirements for supervisors, including a new online education and assessment module for supervisors 
  • changes to the number of IMGs permitted per supervisor 
  • clearer descriptions of the four levels of supervision 
  • revised supervision arrangements for IMGs working after hours, on call or providing home visits and locum services 
  • a new process for appointing temporary supervisors, and 
  • a new audit provision – IMGs and their supervisors may be audited to check compliance with the Board’s supervision requirements.

Recognising that there are IMGs now in positions with approved supervision arrangements, the Board has approved transitional arrangements. The transitional arrangements allow a current IMG (registered before 4 January 2016) to continue in their current approved position with existing supervision arrangements for a limited period of time.

More information, including a copy of the revised guidelines and information about the transitional arrangements, is published on the Board’s Supervision page.

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Revised registration standards

Implementation of revised core registration standards and limited registration standards

The Medical Board has revised its registration standards for medical practitioners and these have now been approved by the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council. The standards will come into effect progressively over the next 12 months, replacing existing standards.

The new registration standard for professional indemnity insurance will commence in early 2016 and transitional arrangements will apply. The new registration standards for continuing professional development and recency of practice will commence 1 October 2016, to align with the registration renewal period.

There are also revised registration standards for limited registration, which apply to international medical graduates who do not qualify for general or specialist registration. These will commence in early 2016 (date to be confirmed). They are:

  • Limited registration for area of need 
  • Limited registration for postgraduate training or supervised practice 
  • Limited registration for teaching or research 
  • Limited registration in public interest.

The standards have been reformatted and reworded to make them clearer. Copies of the standards will be published soon along with more information for practitioners. Consultation reports on the revised standards for PII, recency of practice and CPD are available. These provide an overview of the feedback from our public consultation during the review.

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News and alerts

Call for applications: from medical practitioners and community members to fill vacancies on state and territory Medical Boards

Applications are now sought from medical practitioners and community members from the following jurisdictions to fill various vacancies:

Applications close Wednesday 21 December 2015

  • Tasmanian Board of the Medical Board of Australia – community members – see news item
  • Queensland Board of the Medical Board of Australia – medical practitioners – see news item

Applications close Monday 4 January 2016 – see news item

  • Australian Capital Territory Board of the Medical Board of Australia – medical practitioners and community members  
  • South Australian Board of the Medical Board of Australia – medical practitioners and community members
  • Victorian Board of the Medical Board of Australia - medical practitioners

From time to time vacancies for board, committee and panel positions are advertised on the AHPRA website and published as news items on the Medical Board website. If you would like to receive notice of vacancies when they are advertised, please email Statutory Appointments from your preferred email address, advising which professions or roles you are interested in.

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Graduate applications now open online

AHPRA is calling for online applications for registration from students who are in their final year of an approved program of study. Students due to complete their study at the end of 2015 are urged to apply for registration before finishing their course.

An email reminder to apply early and online will be sent by AHPRA on behalf of the Board to final-year students on the Student Register (which by law is not published).

All applications, online or in hard copy, require students to post supporting documents to AHPRA to complete their application. Some applicants will need to apply for an international criminal history check (ICHC) before submitting their registration application. Students are encouraged to read the information on AHPRA’s website under Graduate applications.

Graduates must meet the Board’s registration standards and need to be registered as a medical practitioner before they start practising medicine. New graduates are registered and eligible to start work as soon as their name is published on the national register of practitioners.

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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 Gomez

The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal has suspended Dr Rene Gomez’s registration for six months, ordered him to never again see female patients and found that he engaged in both professional misconduct and unprofessional conduct. Read more in the news item.

Medical Board of Australia and Veettil

The State Administrative Tribunal of Western Australia has found Dr Premanandan Vayal Veettil guilty of unsatisfactory professional performance and professional misconduct. Read more in the news item.

Medical Board of Australia and Jose

The State Administrative Tribunal of Western Australia has reprimanded, fined and ordered conditions to be imposed on the registration of Dr Ross Jose. Read more in the news item.

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