Last week in Melbourne, more than 450 people from over 40 countries gathered at IAMRA 2016, the international conference of medical regulatory authorities. The conference was hosted by the Medical Board and AHPRA, around the theme ‘Medical Regulation – making a difference’. We shared experience and insights into what works in regulation, what the community and the profession want and expect and how we can most effectively fulfill our role of protecting the public by ensuring quality and standards in medical practice and medical education.
Dr Joanna Flynn AM
Chair, Medical Board of Australia
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Registration is due now
Registration renewal for medical practitioners with general, specialist and non-practising registration is due on 30 September 2016.
If you haven’t already renewed your registration, remember to renew now 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.
If you have provided an email address to the Board or AHPRA you will have been sent email reminders. Reminders have also been posted to practitioners who have not yet renewed. To renew, follow the prompts in these reminders.
By law, all practitioners who apply to renew on time are able to practise while their annual renewal application is being processed. If you apply to renew on time or during the late renewal period, you can still practise medicine even if:
- we are still processing your application to renew
- we are still processing your request to update your qualifications, and/or
- the registration expiry date displayed on the register has passed.
Even if the registration expiry date displayed has passed, the national register will continue to confirm that you are registered.
Under the National Law1, practitioners who do not apply to renew their registration within one month of their registration expiry date must be removed from the Register of Medical Practitioners. For medical practitioners, this will happen on 1 November. Their registration will lapse and they will not be able to practise medicine in Australia until a new application for registration is approved. Practitioners whose registration has lapsed can make a fast-track application, but they cannot practise until their application is processed and the national register is updated. This can take time.
Fees, tips and other information
The registration fee for medical practitioners for 2016/17 is $724 (the same amount as last year). The fee schedule is available on the fees page.
A video and ‘Tips for renewing online’ are available for medical practitioners on the Registration Renewal page.
This year we have added an extra step in the renewal process, to help make sure that the details we publish about your registration on the online national register of practitioners are accurate and complete. We published more detail about the reasons for this and what is involved in last month’s Update.
1The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory
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New cosmetic surgery guidelines take effect 1 October 2016
The Board’s new guidelines for medical practitioners who perform cosmetic medical and surgical procedures take effect on 1 October 2016. They apply to all medical practitioners, including specialist plastic surgeons, cosmetic surgeons and cosmetic physicians regardless of their qualifications.
The guidelines aim to keep patients safe, without imposing an unreasonable regulatory burden on practitioners.
The new guidelines require:
- a seven-day cooling off period for all adults before major procedures
- a three-month cooling off period before major procedures for all under 18s and a mandatory evaluation by a registered psychologist, general practitioner or psychiatrist
- a seven-day cooling off period before minor procedures for all under 18s, and when clinically indicated, evaluation by a registered psychologist, general practitioner or psychiatrist
- the treating medical practitioner to take explicit responsibility for post-operative patient care and for making sure there are emergency facilities when they are using sedation, anaesthesia or analgesia
- a mandatory consultation before a medical practitioner prescribes schedule 4 (prescription only) cosmetic injectables, either in person or by video consultation, and
- medical practitioners to provide patients with detailed written information about costs.
The guidelines provide explicit guidance on patient assessment and informed consent, and require doctors to provide clear information to consumers about risks and possible complications.
More information, including the Guidelines and FAQs, is available on the Board’s website.
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Revalidation – tell us what you think
There is still time for you to tell us what you think about the options for revalidation in Australia, proposed by the Board’s Expert Advisory Group.
We have ruled out a UK-style revalidation system and are not proposing that doctors should re-sit their fellowship exams regularly.
The fundamental purpose of revalidation is to ensure public safety in health care. We want to know: What would ensure that all practising doctors are performing at an appropriate level?
Join the consultation:
The consultation closes on 30 November 2016.
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Invitation for submissions
AHPRA and the Medical Board have commissioned an independent review of the use of chaperones to protect patients in Australia.
Professor Ron Paterson, Professor of Law at the University of Auckland and Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Melbourne Law School, is leading the review and has invited submissions.
A media release, more information and terms of reference for the review are published on the Board’s website.
Submissions close 3 October 2016.
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AIHW releases 2015 data
Each year we ask medical practitioners to complete a medical workforce survey when they renew their registration. Last year, 92.2% of practitioners completed the survey.
Please complete the survey again this year when you renew your registration, so we continue to have accurate and up-to-date workforce data.
The de-identified registration and survey data results provide valuable insights that inform medical workforce planning.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has just released the 2015 data. Highlights from the 2015 AIHW report include:
- 102,805 medical practitioners were registered in Australia in 2015. Of these, 88,040 were employed
- almost two in five employed medical practitioners were women
- about one in four employed medical practitioners was aged 55 or older
- medical practitioners on average worked 42.4 hours per week: men worked an average of 44.9 hours and women 38.6 hours
- 95.1% of all employed medical practitioners worked in a clinical role, and
- 3,210 domestic students began medical undergraduate training in Australia in 2015.
The report also examined trends in the employment profile of the medical profession 2005 to 2015.
These data show there has been little change in the supply of general practitioners (GPs), ranging from 109 per 100,000 people in 2008 to 114 in 2015.
In contrast, the supply of non-GP specialists increased from 121 to 143 per 100,000 people between 2005 and 2015 and the supply of specialists-in-training increased from 43.4 to 74.8 per 100,000 people.
More data are available on the AIHW website.
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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.
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 it 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. The Board and AHPRA sometimes choose to not publish summaries, for example about cases involving practitioners with impairment.
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.
NSW and Queensland
In NSW and Queensland, different arrangements are in place.
In NSW, medical tribunal, court and committee decisions are published separately. In Queensland, complaints are received by the Office of the Health Ombudsman (OHO).
More information is available on AHPRA’s website under Notification outcomes and hearing decisions.
Recent decisions of tribunals
Helmy v Medical Board of Australia
The ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal has confirmed the Medical Board of Australia’s decision to take immediate action on the registration of Dr Mohamed Helmy, but has varied the conditions imposed. Read more in the tribunal summary.
Medical Board of Australia v Smith
The Victoria Civil and Administrative Tribunal has reprimanded Dr Lindsay John Smith and imposed conditions on his registration for professional misconduct. Read more in the tribunal summary.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
For registration enquiries or contact detail changes, call the AHPRA customer service team on 1300 419 495 (from within Australia).
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