October 2015

Update Medical Board of Australia

Chair’s message

What is the threshold for mandatory notification? What should a practitioner do when they are concerned that a colleague’s behaviour may reach this threshold? What happens if you make a notification? These questions continue to cause lots of debate and some heartache. The Board has published guidelines to help practitioners and employers understand their mandatory reporting obligations and how the system works. Information about the notifications process is also available. The reporting threshold is high. The National Law1 codifies the longstanding professional obligation to take action when you become aware that a colleague is posing a serious risk to the public. There may be consequences for failing to notify and there may also be consequences for making a vexatious notification, not acting in good faith. The Board strongly recommends that any practitioner unsure about whether they are obliged to make a mandatory notification seeks advice – from senior colleagues, their employer or their professional indemnity insurer.

Dr Joanna Flynn AM
Chair, Medical Board of Australia


1The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory.

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Consultations

Submissions published on the public consultation on cosmetic medical and surgical procedures

The Medical Board of Australia has published submissions to its consultation on cosmetic medical and surgical procedures provided by medical practitioners, and outlined next steps in deciding how best to manage risk to patients in this area.

The Board received hundreds of submissions to the public consultation. The Board has published 489 submissions and an online petition on its website. More than 100 submissions were not published, either by request or at the Board’s discretion.

Earlier this year, the Board consulted on options to best protect consumers seeking cosmetic medical and surgical procedures provided by medical practitioners. The Board published a public consultation paper and regulation impact statement.

A regulation impact statement (RIS) details the costs and benefits of proposed options and is required by the Commonwealth’s Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR). The RIS provides detailed background information on this issue, including evidence, regulatory context, non-regulatory and regulatory options and the associated impacts, costs, benefits and risks.

The Board’s preferred option was to issue guidelines for cosmetic medical and surgical procedures performed by medical practitioners. Other options tested in the regulation impact statement included maintaining the status quo, boosting consumer education, and providing less explicit guidance to medical practitioners.

While submissions to the consultation show a wide range of views from the profession and the community, there is broad support for action to keep patients safe.

The Board will now follow the requirements of OBPR and a Decision RIS is being prepared which will be considered by the OBPR. When the OBPR confirms the RIS is compliant with the Council of Australian Governments’ principles of best practice regulation, the Board will decide what, if any, regulatory action is needed to protect patients who seek cosmetic medical and surgical procedures performed by medical practitioners.

The OBPR is independent of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (the National Scheme) so timelines for a Board decision are not yet confirmed.

The Board will continue to update the community and the profession on progress on this important issue, as information is available.

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Registration

Registration renewal period ends

Registration renewal for medical practitioners with general, specialist and non-practising registration was due on 30 September 2015. This year, 95.3% of medical practitioners renewed on time. Practitioners continued to take up the option of online renewal, with 97.9% of those who renewed before the due date, renewing online.

If you haven’t renewed your registration, renewals can still be made throughout October, but a late fee applies.

Under the National Law, practitioners who do not renew their registration within one month of their registration expiry date must be removed from the Register of Medical Practitioners. Their registration will lapse and they will not be able to practise medicine in Australia until a new application for registration is approved.

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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.

Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia

After receiving advice from the Australian Medical Council, the Board extended its approval of the accredited CPD program and education and training programs of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA) leading to the award of Fellowship of the RCPA to 31 March 2017.

Australasian College for Emergency Medicine

After receiving accreditation advice from the Australian Medical Council, the Board approved the accredited CPD program and training programs of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM) leading to the award of the FACEM as providing a qualification for the purposes of specialist registration until 31 March 2018.

Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons

After receiving advice from the Australian Medical Council, the Board extended its approval of the accredited CPD program and the education and training programs of the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons (RACDS) leading to the award of FRACDS (OMS) to 31 March 2018.

University of Auckland

After receiving accreditation advice from the Australian Medical Council, the Board approved the accredited six-year Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) program of the University of Auckland as providing a qualification for the purposes of general registration until 31 March 2022.

University of Wollongong

After receiving advice from the Australian Medical Council, the Board extended its approval of the accredited four-year Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) program of the University of Wollongong to 31 March 2017.

Canberra Region Medical Education Council

After receiving accreditation advice from the Australian Medical Council, the Board approved Canberra Region Medical Education Council (CRMEC) as an intern accreditation authority until 31 March 2018.

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News and alerts

Call for applications: medical practitioner member for the Queensland Medical Board

There is a vacancy on the Queensland Board for a medical practitioner member practising in Queensland. For further information, read the call for applications on our website.

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beyondblue promotes mentally healthy workplaces for doctors and medical students

Since undertaking a national mental health survey of doctors and medical students, beyondblue has been working to promote good mental health in hospitals and health services in the interests of both the medical profession and the broader Australian community. An initiative of the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance and beyondblue, Heads up provides free, practical tools and resources to assist hospitals to take immediate steps to create mentally healthier workplaces.

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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

There were no new cases published this month, but you can still access past cases.

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