Medical Board of Australia
Medical Board of Australia
 

October 2016

Update Medical Board of Australia

Chair’s message

There are important lessons for registered medical practitioners from tribunal decisions. Our data tells us that tribunal summaries are among the most widely read items in our newsletter. To make these lessons more accessible we have changed the sequence of our regular articles in this Update and indicated what each case is about. 

Last month the Board and AHPRA hosted the 2016 conference of the International Association of Medical Regulatory Authorities (IAMRA). An interesting summary of issues challenging health practitioner regulators internationally is available online.

Dr Joanna Flynn AM
Chair, Medical Board of Australia

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Latest tribunal decisions

Recent decisions have been published online

The Medical Board refers the most serious concerns about medical practitioners to tribunals in each state and territory and believes tribunal decisions offer important lessons for all practitioners. Cases published in the last month have included:

Two cases were dismissed by the tribunal, these were about:

Publication of panel, court and tribunal decisions

We publish a record of panel, court and tribunal decisions about registered health practitioners.

There is a record of panel hearing decisions made since July 2010. Panel hearings include both health panels and performance and professional standards panels, which under the National Law, are not open to the public. Practitioners' names are not published. 

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.

Published decisions of the NSW Medical Tribunal, Professional Standards Committees, and relevant court decisions relating to medical practitioners in New South Wales are published on the Medical Council of NSW website.

In Queensland, complaints are received by the Office of the Health Ombudsman (OHO). Decisions of Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) about referrals by OHO can be found on the OHO website.

More information is available on AHPRA’s website under Notification outcomes and hearing decisions.

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Consultation.

Revalidation – tell us what you think

There is still time to have your say about revalidation in Australia. The Board is now consulting on options to support doctors to maintain and enhance their professional skills and knowledge and to remain fit to practise throughout their working lives. The Board has ruled out UK-style revalidation and made it clear that doctors will not be required to re-sit their fellowship exams periodically. The Expert Advisory Group established by the Board to provide advice on options for revalidation in Australia has recommended a model combining strengthened CPD and the proactive identification and assessment of ‘at-risk’ and poorly performing practitioners.

So far we’ve had more than:

Join the consultation and tell us what you think:

The consultation closes on 30 November 2016.

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Registration

More than 88% renew on time and 98.8% renew online

We are pleased to report that 88.5% of medical practitioners renewed their registration on time, and 98.8% renewed online.

Medical practitioners with general, specialist and non-practising registration were due to renew their registration by 30 September 2016. If you meant to renew and still haven’t, you can renew in 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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Revised registration standards now apply

Revised recency of practice and CPD standards now in effect

Recency of practice

An updated registration standard is now in place for recency of practice. All registered medical practitioners must now practise a minimum number of hours to demonstrate recency.

To meet the standard, medical practitioners must practise within their scope of practice, at any time, for a minimum total of:

  • four weeks full-time equivalent in one registration period, which is a total of 152 hours, or
  • 12 weeks full-time equivalent over three consecutive registration periods, which is a total of 456 hours.

Full-time equivalent is 38 hours per week. The maximum number of hours that can be counted per week is 38 hours. Medical practitioners who work part-time must complete the same minimum number of hours of practice – this can be completed part-time.

Most practitioners who are currently practising will meet the revised standard. The standard allows you to meet the minimum hours of practice over a three-year period, so you don’t need to work a set number of hours per week or every year to meet the standard.

Read more in the news item and on the FAQ page.

Continuing professional development

The revised continuing professional development registration standard has not changed significantly. All registered medical practitioners must continue to participate in regular continuing professional development (CPD) activities and international medical graduates must now complete a minimum of 50 hours CPD per year.

We have published FAQs for international medical graduates with limited or provisional registration.

Medical practitioners with specialist registration must continue to meet the requirements set out by their relevant college. Medical practitioners with general registration (who do not have specialist registration) must continue to complete a minimum of 50 hours CPD per year.

For medical practitioners with provisional registration or limited registration, the standard more clearly sets out the requirements to ensure their CPD is linked to their training position and/or supervision plan.

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Advertising

Advertising regulated health services

We have published more information to help registered medical practitioners better understand their advertising obligations.

Section 133 of the National Law1 regulates the advertising of regulated health services (a service provided by, or usually provided by, a health practitioner as defined in the National Law).

Section 133 means that a person must not advertise regulated health services in a way that:

  1. is false, misleading or deceptive or is likely to be misleading or deceptive
  2. offers a gift, discount or other inducement to attract a person to use the service or the business, unless the advertisement also states the terms and conditions of the offer
  3. uses testimonials or purported testimonials about the service or business
  4. creates an unreasonable expectation of beneficial treatment, or
  5. directly or indirectly encourages the indiscriminate or unnecessary use of regulated health services.

For the latest information published by the Board on advertising obligations, please refer to Further information on advertising therapeutic claims.

This information does not replace the Board’s Guidelines for advertising regulated health services, which should be your first point of reference to understand your obligations. You may also wish to seek appropriate advice, for example, from your legal advisor.

The burden is on you to substantiate any claim you make that your treatments benefit patients. If you do not understand whether the claims you have made can be substantiated based on acceptable evidence, then remove them from your advertising.

AHPRA is responsible for prosecuting breaches of the advertising requirements in the National Law. This means that when a notification is received about advertising, AHPRA, with National Boards, needs to decide whether there has been a breach of your advertising obligations.

As part of this process, we will use objective criteria to assess whether there is acceptable evidence to substantiate therapeutic claims in advertising. We will use appropriate experts to help us evaluate evidence where needed.

These are serious matters that can have serious consequences: if in doubt about a claim, leave it out of your advertising.


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

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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.

James Cook University

After receiving accreditation advice from the Australian Medical Council, the Board approved the accredited six-year Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) program of James Cook University as providing an approved qualification for the purposes of general registration to 31 March 2021.

University of Melbourne

After receiving accreditation advice from the Australian Medical Council, the Board approved the accredited four-year Doctor of Medicine (MD) program of the University of Melbourne as providing an approved qualification for the purposes of general registration to 31 March 2021.

Deakin University

After receiving accreditation advice from the Australian Medical Council, the Board approved the accredited four-year Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) program of Deakin University as providing an approved qualification for the purposes of general registration to 31 March 2019.

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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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News and alerts

Graduates can apply online now for provisional registration

AHPRA is now calling for final-year medical students to apply for registration online.

AHPRA is emailing medical students on the Student Register who will complete their approved program of study by the end of 2016, to apply online for provisional registration four to six weeks before finishing their course.

Some applicants will also need to apply for an international criminal history check.

All applicants need to post hardcopies of supporting documents to AHPRA to complete their application. Information about the supporting documents is included in the Next steps checklist which AHPRA emails to each student when it receives their online application. Students can read the information on AHPRA’s website under Graduate applications.

Graduates must meet the Board’s registration standards and need to hold provisional registration before they start practising. New graduates are eligible to start work as soon as their name is published on the Register of Medical Practitioners.

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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