Medical Board of Australia
Medical Board of Australia

Obligations on Medical Practitioners

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) registration standard

All registered medical practitioners (excludes practitioners with non-practising registration) are required to participate regularly in continuing professional development (CPD) that is relevant to their scope of practice. This involves maintaining, developing, updating and enhancing their knowledge, skills and performance to ensure they deliver appropriate and safe care.

The CPD requirements that medical practitioners must comply with depend on the type of registration that they hold and on the stage of their career. For example, medical practitioners who are on the specialist register are expected to comply with the CPD requirements of their specialist college. Interns and prevocational trainees are expected to participate in the supervised training and education programs associated with their position.

All medical practitioners will be required to make a declaration that they have met the standard and have completed the necessary CPD when they apply for renewal of registration. The Board requires medical practitioners to keep records that may be subject to audit.

The standard covers the CPD obligations for medical practitioners in a range of circumstances.

For details see the Board’s Registration Standard: Continuing Professional Development (322 KB,PDF)  

English language skills registration standard

This registration standard applies to all applicants for initial registration.

All internationally qualified applicants for medical registration, or applicants who qualified for medical registration in Australia but did not complete their secondary education in English, must demonstrate that they have the necessary English language skills for registration purposes.

All applicants must be able to demonstrate English language skills at IELTS academic level 7 or the equivalent, and achieve the required minimum score in each component of the IELTS academic module, OET or alternatives specified in the standard.

Test results must be obtained within two years of applying for registration. The Board may grant an extension in specific circumstances.

For details see the Board's English Language Skills Registration Standard (216 KB,PDF)

Proof of identity

All applicants are required to comply with the Board’s 'Proof of Identity' requirements.

So the Board can meet its primary responsibility to protect the community, the Board must have confidence in the processes used to validate the authenticity of applicants for medical registration. Once the Board has approved an application for registration, the applicant will be notified and required to attend the Board's office for an identification check. The applicant will need to contact the relevant State or Territory office of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and make an appointment for this purpose. A Certificate of Registration and other information will be issued to the applicant at this appointment if all the required standards have been met.

For details see the AHPRA proof of identity policy approved by the Board.

Recency of practice registration standard

To ensure that they are able to practise competently and safely, medical practitioners must have recent practice in the fields in which they intend to work during the period of registration for which they are applying.

To meet the standard, they must have practised within their scope of practice for a minimum total of:

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

If a practitioner has been absent from practice, the specific requirements depend on the field of practice, their level of experience and the length of absence from the field.

If a practitioner proposes to change their field of practice, the Board will consider whether the practitioner’s peers would view the change as a normal extension or variation within a field of practice, or a change that would require specific training and demonstration of competence.

Practitioners who are unable to meet the recency of practice requirements set out in the standard may need to complete professional development activities, submit a plan for re-entry to practice or other training or assessments.

They may also be required to work under supervision or oversight, before being granted unrestricted registration.

For details see the Board’s Registration Standard: Recency of Practice (218 KB,PDF)

Professional indemnity insurance registration standard

All registered medical practitioners who provide health care or medical opinion in respect of the physical or mental health of any person, must ensure all aspects of their medical practice are covered by professional indemnity insurance (PII), or some alternative form of indemnity cover that complies with the Board’s registration standard for professional indemnity insurance.

Initial registration and annual renewal of registration will require a declaration that the medical practitioner will be covered for all aspects of practice for the whole period of the registration.

For details see the Board’s Professional Indemnity Insurance Registration Standard (64.5 KB,PDF), Word version (81.9 KB,DOCX) 

Criminal history registration standard

The Board has the power to check the criminal history of registered medical practitioners.

Medical practitioners will be required, at annual renewal (section 109 of the National Law), and at any time during the registration period (section 130 of the National Law) to advise the Board of any charges for offences punishable by 12 months imprisonment or more, and any convictions or findings of guilt for offences punishable by imprisonment.

Before making a decision about an application for renewal of registration, or at any time during the registration period, the Board may check a registrant’s criminal history. The Board can do so by obtaining a written report from the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC), a police commissioner or an entity in a jurisdiction outside Australia that keeps records about the criminal history of persons in that jurisdiction. It has this power under sections 79 and 135 of the National Law.

The Board’s Criminal history registration standard sets out the factors that the Board will consider when it decides whether a medical practitioner’s criminal history is relevant to the practice of medicine.

For details see the Board’s Criminal History Registration Standard (321 KB,PDF), Word version (574 KB,DOCX).

International criminal history checks

From 4 February 2015 onwards, a new process will apply for checking criminal history outside of Australia. This new approach requires certain applicants and registered practitioners to apply for an international criminal history check from an approved supplier. For more information, please refer to the international criminal history page on the AHPRA website.

Page reviewed 29/09/2016