Medical Board of Australia - Annual report, published today, shows how the Medical Board of Australia worked to protect the public in 2016/17
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Annual report, published today, shows how the Medical Board of Australia worked to protect the public in 2016/17

15 Nov 2017

The medical health workforce grew by 3.7% over the past year, to 111,166 total registrants, according to data released today in the 2016/17 annual report published by AHPRA and the National Boards.

The annual report is a comprehensive record of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (the National Scheme) for the 12 months to 30 June 2017.

Medical practitioners comprise a significant proportion (16.4%) of the total 678,983 registrants in the National Scheme in 2016/17, and the rate of notifications about medical practitioners is significantly higher than for other professions in the National Scheme.

This year 52.4% of the notifications received by AHPRA were about medical practitioners, with the total number of notifications about medical practitioners increasing by 0.2% from the previous year.

‘This year the Board has focussed on streamlining the way notifications about medical practitioners are handled to improve the experience for both notifiers and practitioners’ said Dr Joanna Flynn AM Chair of the Medical Board of Australia.

The Board has continued to examine what processes need to be developed to ensure that medical practitioners maintain and enhance their professions skills and knowledge and remain fit to practice medicine throughout their working lives.

‘Part of this was to commission independent social research to better understand what the public expects doctors to do to demonstrate ongoing fitness and competence, and what medical practitioners believe they need to do to keep their skills up-to-date,’ said Dr Flynn AM.

Other Board works for the year included funding the expansion of a national network of support services for doctors, and accepting and beginning to implement all the recommendations in an independent review into the use of chaperones.

More information about the Board’s work is available in a profession-specific summary report, which will soon be available for download from the Annual Report microsite.

A snapshot of the profession

  • Increased registration year on year: Medical practitioners made up 16.4% of all health practitioners registered nationally (111,166 individual registered medical practitioners in 2016/17; up from 107,179 in 2015/16).
  • Medical students on the register: As at 30 June 2017, there were 20,057 medical students, representing an increase of 1.5% from 2015/16.
  • Complaints received about medical practitioners: There were 3,617 notifications (complaints or concerns) lodged with AHPRA about medical practitioners in 2016/17, an increase of 14.9% (from 3,147) in the previous year.
  • Of 3,557 matters closed, in 2016/17: 7.3% resulted in the Board accepting an undertaking or conditions being imposed on the practitioners’ registration; 11% resulted in a caution or reprimand; 0.6% resulted in cancellation or suspension of registration.
  • In 76.3% of matters, it was determined that no further regulatory action was required. No further action is taken when, based on the available information, the Board determines there is no risk to the public that requires regulatory action.
  • Statutory offences by medical practitioners: 273 new complaints were made this year relating to possible statutory offences by medical practitioners. More than half of these (164) related to advertising breaches, while misuse of a protected title was alleged 97 times. AHPRA and the Board closed 283 statutory offence matters in 2016/17. 
  • Immediate action was taken 102 times to restrict or suspend the registration of medical practitioners as an interim measure to protect the public while notifications were being investigated. 
  • Active monitoring cases as at 30 June 2017: 1,000 medical practitioners were monitored during the year for health, performance and/or conduct.

The 2016/17 annual report provides a nationwide snapshot of the work of AHPRA and the National Boards and highlights a multi-profession approach to risk-based regulation, with a clear focus on ensuring that the public are protected.

‘There are now almost 680,000 registered health practitioners across Australia,’ said AHPRA CEO Mr Martin Fletcher. ‘This Annual Report highlights our strong and shared commitment with the Board to ensure the public has access to a competent, qualified registered health workforce and to take decisive action when required to keep the community safe.’

To view the 2016/17 annual report, along with supplementary tables that segment data across categories such as registrations, notifications, statutory offences, tribunals and appeals, and monitoring and compliance, visit the Annual Report microsite.

In late December, AHPRA and the National Boards will also publish jurisdictional summaries of our work regulating health practitioners in each state and territory.

For more information

Page reviewed 15/11/2017