September 2014

Update Medical Board of Australia

Have you renewed your registration yet?

Registrations are due soon

Registration renewal is due on 30 September 2014 for medical practitioners with general, specialist and non-practising registration. This does not apply to most interns.

At the time of publication of this newsletter, 85% of medical practitioners due to renew by 30 September have renewed their registration. Of these, 96.7% have renewed online.

If you haven’t already renewed your registration, remember to renew before 30 September if you want to continue to practise. Online renewal is quick and easy.

There is a late fee for renewal applications received in October, which reflects the cost of managing late renewals.

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.

If you have provided an email address to the Board or AHPRA you will have been sent email reminders. Paper reminders have also been sent to practitioners who have not yet renewed. 

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Medical workforce survey.

AIHW releases 2013 data

Each year medical practitioners are asked to complete a medical workforce survey when they renew their registration. Survey completion rates are now around 96%. AHPRA provides de-identified registration and survey data to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) and the results provide valuable insights that inform medical workforce planning.

The AIHW have just released the 2013 data. This is the fourth data set for medical practitioners collected through the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme.

A snapshot in 2013 reveals:

  • 95,013 medical practitioners were registered in Australia in 2013. Of them, 82,498 were employed in medicine. 
  • Almost 2 in 5 employed medical practitioners were women. 
  • About 1 in 4 employed medical practitioners were aged 55 or older. 
  • Medical practitioners on average worked 42.8 hours per week. Men worked an average of 45.4 hours and women 38.8 hours. 
  • 95.2% of all employed medical practitioners worked in a clinical role. 
  • 3,033 domestic students commenced medical undergraduate training in Australia in 2013.

More data are available on the AIHW website.  

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Medical student data.

Graduate numbers are increasing

In September, the Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand released their annual snapshot of medical student numbers and demographics.

They predict that in 2014, 3,549 doctors will graduate in Australia and 439 in New Zealand. The number of graduates has been increasing but is expected to plateau from 2015.

The numbers of male and female graduates are evenly distributed (50.7% females in 2014).

NSW/ACT have the highest number of graduates (34.4%) and Tasmania the lowest (3.2%).

In 2014, 27% of domestic medical students came from a rural background.

More data are available on the Medical Deans website.

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Update on the audit process.

Practitioner audit is in progress 

As mentioned in our recent newsletters and news items, audits to assess compliance with the Board’s registration standards are in progress. An Audit page on the website provides comprehensive information about the audit process including guidance on the audit notice, what is being audited, what it means for you and contact details for the audit team and AHPRA customer service team that can assist you with any queries.

If you want to know more read this article or visit the website to learn more about the process.

All registered practitioners are required to comply with a range of registration standards published on our website under Registration standards.

AHPRA and the National Boards have developed a nationally consistent approach to auditing health practitioners’ compliance with mandatory registration standards. Audits of random samples of health practitioners from all professions occur periodically throughout the year.

Audits are an important part of the way that National Boards and AHPRA protect the public by regularly checking the declarations made by practitioners.

What is the process?

The selection for audit is random. You may be audited at any time. If you are selected for audit you will be required to provide further information to support your registration declarations.

  • You will receive an audit notice in the post, and a checklist that outlines what documentation you need to provide to demonstrate that you meet the standard(s) being audited. The notice will identify which standards are being audited – these may be for recency of practice, CPD, professional indemnity insurance and/or criminal history. 
  • You will have four weeks to provide the requested documentation to AHPRA. 
  • AHPRA will review your supporting documentation against the declarations you made in your last renewal application. 
  • AHPRA may request further information and/or refer cases of non-compliance to the National Board or its delegated committee for decision. 
  • You will be advised by letter of the outcome of the audit.

For further information, visit the Audit page on the National Board’s website.

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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 Australasian College of Medical Administrators

After receiving accreditation advice from the Australian Medical Council, the Board approved the accredited continuing professional development program and Fellowship program in the recognised specialty of medical administration of the Royal Australasian College of Medical Administrators (FRACMA) as providing a qualification for the purposes of specialist registration until 31 March 2019.

University of Otago

After receiving accreditation advice from the Australian Medical Council, the Board approved the University of Otago’s six year Bachelor of Medicine / Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) program as providing a qualification for the purposes of registration until 31 March 2019.

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News and alerts

Three-year review of the National Scheme

The independent review of the national scheme is underway and a consultation paper is now published.

The terms of reference for the review are published at Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council website under ‘media releases’ on the right-hand tab. The review – led by independent reviewer, Mr Kim Snowball – was built into the intergovernmental agreement that set up the framework and governance arrangements for the National Scheme. The agreement stated that the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council (Ministerial Council) would initiate an independent review after three years of the National Scheme’s operation.

The Medical Board and AHPRA are actively participating in the review process. Opportunities for comment are detailed in the consultation paper.

Update on practitioner registers on the AHPRA website

All registered health practitioners in 14 professions regulated under the National Scheme can be found on the national registers of practitioners, accessible through the AHPRA website under Registers of practitioners.

In addition to the main registers listing practitioners, we also have a list for cancelled practitioners, and another for practitioners who have agreed not to practise (which is used for people who are prohibited from registering). You can access these via the menu on the left hand side of that web page.

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Panel, court and tribunal decisions

Panel, court and 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 selected tribunal or court cases from time to time. These can be sourced at Publications>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.

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