Professor Con Michael AO has stepped down as Chair of the WA Board of the Medical Board of Australia, after over 25 years in medical regulation. He will continue to serve the profession and the community as a member of both the WA Medical Board and the Medical Board of Australia until October 2021. Professor Mark Edwards has been appointed Chair of the WA Board.
We thank Professor Con Michael AO for his extraordinary service to Australians through his involvement in medical regulation in Australia. Professor Michael chaired the WA Medical Board since 2010 and before that was President of the Medical Board of Western Australia from 1995 to 2010. He was appointed to the national Medical Board in 2015.
An obstetrician and gynaecologist, Professor Michael was an inaugural member of the Ahpra Agency Management Committee, where he served from 2009 to 2015. He was a director of the Australian Medical Council and past president of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. He has had many roles, including as Principal Adviser of Medical Workforce for the Western Australia Health Department, and in medical education at the University of Notre Dame Australia, University of Western Australia and Curtin University.
Professor Michael was named an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2001 for services to medicine, particularly in the field of obstetrics and gynaecology; as a contributor to the administration of the profession nationally and internationally; and in medical education. In 2001, Professor Michael received the Centenary Medal Award.
We welcome Professor Mark Edwards, a cardiothoracic surgeon, as Chair of the Western Australian Board. Professor Edwards was appointed Chair in April and has served on the WA Board for four years. An experienced Board member, he has worked in both the public and private sectors for many years and has been involved in education and training.
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Tell us what you think of changes we are considering to the regulatory principles for the National Scheme. The consultation is open until 18 May 2021 and we’re keen to hear from practitioners, the community and health system stakeholders.
We apply our regulatory principles in all decision-making across the National Scheme, to help make sure we are taking a responsive, risk-based approach to regulation. The principles acknowledge the importance of community confidence in regulation and working with the professions to achieve good outcomes.
The changes we are proposing reflect two recent policy directions from the COAG Health Council, which provide a clear mandate to the National Boards and Ahpra to further strengthen public protection in our work.
The consultation paper and more information is available on the Ahpra consultations page. Submissions can be made using an online survey, or as a written submission.
GP access to Medicare rebates will be linked to specialist registration with the Medical Board of Australia, after Commonwealth Government changes to the Health Insurance Act 1973.
From 16 June 2021, Services Australia will use Ahpra’s Register of Medical Practitioners to determine GP access to Medicare rebates.
From this date, general practitioners with a fellowship qualification from RACGP or ACRRM must hold specialist registration with the Medical Board to access Medicare rebates. Affected GP fellows need to apply now for specialist registration as a general practitioner with the Medical Board.
You can check what type of registration you have on Ahpra’s public register.
There is more information and FAQs for GPs applying for specialist registration on the Medical Board website.
More information about the Commonwealth Government changes is available on the Department of Health website.
The pandemic response sub-register will remain open for another 12 months. The Australian Government asked for the extension to support the national COVID-19 vaccination effort.
Medical practitioners (as well as nurses, midwives, pharmacists and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners) who are already on the sub-register will remain on the sub-register until 5 April 2022. Their registration will be limited to helping with the COVID-19 vaccination rollout.
If you are on the sub-register, you don’t have to do anything to stay on it and no fees apply. You are not obliged to practise and can opt out or remain on the sub-register. If you remain on the sub-register, you might be contacted by health department representatives to see if you wish to support the vaccination rollout. You can opt out for any reason and do not need to say why.
We established the sub-register in April 2020 as a temporary measure in response to COVID-19.
Our updated FAQs may be useful.
Medical practitioners in NSW can now submit ‘fitness to drive’ assessment forms online. Paper forms will be phased out in the future and online forms have been improved, according to Transport for NSW.
You can access the online forms through practice management systems Genie, Medical Director, Best Practice and MedTech or directly through the HealthLink portal.
More information about assessing fitness to drive in NSW and how to complete the online forms is available on the Transport for NSW website.
There are important lessons for registered medical practitioners from tribunal decisions. The Medical Board of Australia refers the most serious concerns about medical practitioners to tribunals in each state and territory. The following decision was published recently:
Ahpra, on behalf of the 15 National Boards, publishes a record of panel, court and tribunal decisions about registered health practitioners.
When investigating a notification, the Board 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. Practitioners’ names are not published, consistent with the National Law.
Summaries of tribunal and court cases are published on the Court and tribunal decisions page of the Ahpra website. The Board and Ahpra sometimes choose not to publish summaries, for example about cases involving practitioners with impairment.
In New South Wales and Queensland, different arrangements are in place. More information is available on Aphra’s website on the Concerned about a practitioner? page.
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).