Revised standards for all medical practitioners published today

02 Feb 2016

The Medical Board of Australia has today published the revised registration standards for continuing professional development (CPD) and recency of practice for Australia’s 100,000 registered medical practitioners.

The revised standards will take effect on 1 October 2016 and are being published now to support a smooth transition.

The revised standards will replace the current standards. Registered medical practitioners must ensure they comply with the revised CPD and recency of practice registration standards from 1 October 2016.

Both standards have been reformatted and reworded to help medical practitioners and applicants understand and comply with them.

Continuing professional development

Registered medical practitioners must ensure they comply with the revised CPD registration standard from 1 October 2016.

The revised CPD registration standard has not changed significantly. All registered medical practitioners must continue to participate in regular CPD activities.

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. The revised standard requires international medical graduates to complete a minimum of 50 hours CPD per year.

Recency of practice

The recency of practice standard has changed and under it, practitioners will need to practise a minimum number of hours to meet the standard. The standard also explains requirements for returning to practice after an absence and requirements for changing scope of practice.

Registered medical practitioners must ensure they comply with the revised recency of practice registration standard from 1 October 2016.

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 change may affect medical practitioners who are currently practising infrequently, or who have had a recent absence from practice or who are currently taking a temporary break from practice. The revised standard has been published well before it takes effect to provide practitioners with enough time to prepare for the changes to the recency requirements.

The Board encourages all medical practitioners to review the revised standard to check whether they will be affected by the change.

If a medical practitioner cannot meet the minimum hours of practice in the revised standard, this will not necessarily prevent them from returning to practice as a medical practitioner. The standard sets out the requirements for medical practitioners who don’t meet the standard, including those with non-practising registration and medical practitioners who are not registered and wish to return to practice after 1 October 2016.

FAQ and a fact sheet (below) on returning to practice are available to assist medical practitioners.

Revised registration standards

Document name PDF Accessible format Date of effect
Registration standard: Continuing professional development PDF (247KB) Word version 
1 October 2016
Registration standard: Recency of practice PDF (210KB) Word version  
1 October 2016

Revised fact sheet

Document name PDF Accessible format Date of effect
Fact sheet: Information on returning to practice PDF (314KB) Word version 
2 February 2016


The revised standard was approved by the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council on 27 August 2015 and was reviewed in a scheduled review of standards which included public consultation. The submissions to the public consultation are published on the past consultations page.

A brief consultation report which outlines the public consultation and the rationale for any changes has previously been published by National Boards.

The new registration standard for Professional Indemnity Insurance started on 1 January 2016. The four registration standards for limited registration will take effect in the first half of 2016 (on a date to be confirmed). More information will be available on the Board’s website in the coming months.

Additional resources

FAQ are available on the Board’s website.

The following additional resources about the revised standards are available on the AHPRA website.

  • letters of approval by the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council 
  • consultation reports:
    • Continuing professional development registration standard 
    • Recency of practice registration standard 
    • Professional indemnity insurance arrangements registration standard
Page reviewed 2/02/2016