We’ve commissioned an independent review of patient safety issues in the cosmetic sector. We’re concerned that the current system of checks and balances is not keeping patients safe in a rapidly changing and entrepreneurial part of our profession. The review will report back in mid-2022 and we look forward to its recommendations.
As 2021 closes, thank you for the contribution you have made to Australia’s healthcare system and your patients during this very challenging year. The Board is so proud of the leadership and commitment shown by medical practitioners across Australia. We wish you and yours a safe and restful festive season.
Dr Anne Tonkin
Chair, Medical Board of Australia
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We’ve commissioned an independent review of patient safety issues in the cosmetic sector, including how to strengthen risk-based regulation of practitioners in this increasingly entrepreneurial part of the profession.
Some worrying features of the cosmetic industry set it apart from conventional medical practice, including corporate business models which are alleged to place profit over patient safety, no medical need for cosmetic procedures, limited factual information for consumers and exponential growth in social media that emphasises benefits and downplays risks.
We are also concerned there may be a weak safety and reporting culture in cosmetic surgery. While it’s a good thing that there are doctors, nurses and other health professionals who are picking up the pieces when cosmetic procedures go wrong, we need to understand why these practitioners are not always sharing their patient safety concerns with us in a timely way.
The independent review will ensure that the specific regulatory responsibilities of Ahpra and National Boards are effectively protecting the public, in our part of the system of checks and balances in place for cosmetic surgery. State and territory health authorities have a major regulatory role in licensing facilities.
The review will:
The review will be led by outgoing Queensland Health Ombudsman, Andrew Brown.
Public consultation will begin in early 2022.
Read more, including the review’s Terms of reference, in the news item on the Medical Board website.
The 2020/21 annual report of Ahpra and the national health practitioner boards is published.
The annual report is a comprehensive record of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for the 12 months to 30 June 2021. In another year dominated by the challenges of COVID-19, regulation continued and adapted to the impacts of the pandemic.
A medicine-specific snapshot and data tables are also published.
The 2020/21 annual report, along with supplementary tables that provide data about registrations, notifications, criminal offence complaints, tribunals and appeals, and monitoring and compliance, is available on the annual report page of the Ahpra website.
The medicine-specific snapshot and data tables are on the Medical Board website.
In 2022, interns directly affected by COVID-19 will be eligible for the same Board-approved changes to internships that applied in 2021.
During this year, the Board reviewed requirements for 2021 interns whose rotations were interrupted by COVID-19 related leave or redeployment.
Acknowledging that COVID-19 outbreaks are likely to continue to cause workforce pressures in 2022, the Board has extended the 2021 changes so they apply to 2022 interns who are directly affected by COVID-19.
The Board expects that interns will complete the core terms and 47 weeks accredited service unless they:
The intern will need to provide details of when the leave was taken and explain the reasons.
The Board may request confirmation from the employing health service that the redeployment was the result of COVID-19.
For the purpose of granting general registration at the end of the intern year, the Board will continue to accept a report from the Director of Medical Services, Director of Training or another person authorised to sign off intern reports, confirming that each intern has performed satisfactorily during the intern year.
The revised requirements are published in a news item on the Board’s website and there are also FAQs on the COVID-19 updates page.
Continuing professional development (CPD) is already a registration requirement for all registered medical practitioners. When revised CPD arrangements take effect, all doctors will need to have a CPD home. (You can read more about changes to CPD, and CPD homes on the Board’s website.)
The Board and the Australian Medical Council (AMC) are now finalising the criteria and process for organisations to apply to become a CPD home.
If your organisation is interested in becoming a CPD home and would like to be kept informed about the expression of interest process, please email email@example.com so we can keep you updated.
Applications will open on the 18 December 2021 for a registered medical practitioner to fill a vacancy on the Tasmanian Medical Board.
Applications close 23 January 2022. Information will be available from 18 December 2021 on Ahpra’s Statutory appointments page.
We’ve published results of social research aimed at helping us understand what people think about us and how they understand our work.
Understanding what the community and regulated health professions think and feel about us, particularly in areas of understanding, confidence and trust, informs how we engage with our stakeholders and identifies where we need to improve.
The results are from an anonymous survey conducted in late 2020 of a random sample of health practitioners and the community across Australia. There were more than 10,200 responses from practitioners and 2,000+ from the broader community.
The survey is part of a social research project managed by an independent consultant and follows a similar survey conducted in previous years. We surveyed practitioners again in 2021 with results to be released in 2022.
The results are available on the Medical Board website.
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) and the Medical Board welcome the announcement by Health Ministers to review the use of the title ‘surgeon’.
Currently, any registered health practitioner can use the title ‘surgeon’ as it is not protected under the National Law.
Health ministers, as part of a collaborative nationwide consultation, are seeking feedback from the public about whether the current framework should be changed or if other options should be considered to help the public better understand medical practitioner qualifications.
Public consultation material, including FAQs, and how organisations, individual practitioners and members of the public can make submissions, are available on the Engage Victoria website. The consultation opens soon, and submissions will be accepted until April 2022.
Ahpra and the Medical Board of Australia’s recently announced independent review into cosmetic surgery may help inform a submission to Health Ministers’ consultation.
The Medical Council of New South Wales has published a podcast, Burnout: are you at risk – and what you can do about it. In this podcast, host Dr Martine Walker is joined by Professor Leanne Rowe and Dr Peter Baldwin to discuss how doctors can manage burnout and maintain good mental health. They offer valuable insights and practical guidance on how to handle the pressures of our roles.
The podcast is available on Whooshkaa.
Services Australia is upgrading its digital health and aged care channels. These upgrades will ensure that patient and provider information is secure, now and into the future.
To continue accessing the channels below, you’ll need to be using web service-compatible software by 13 March 2022:
Services Australia is also strengthening its authentication process by replacing Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) site certificates with Provider Digital Access (PRODA) for organisations.
PRODA will help you do your electronic business with Services Australia securely.
If you use an alternative channel for your claims and don’t use software, you don’t need to do anything. These upgrades won’t affect you.
More information about PRODA is on the Services Australia website PRODA page.
Your software developer will have information on their transition and upgrade plans for your site. If you haven’t heard from them, contact them now and ask:
*Users of PBS Online and Aged Care must register their organisation in PRODA to authenticate to their web services-enabled software.
If you use PBS Online, your software developer will contact you when more information is available.
It is important that you understand these changes, as they will affect your business if you use software to submit claims and data to Services Australia.
More information is available on the Services Australia website digital channels page.
If you have questions, email servicesaustralia.A2WS@servicesaustralia.gov.au.
There are important lessons in tribunal decisions about registered medical practitioners. The Medical Board of Australia refers the most serious concerns about medical practitioners to tribunals in each state and territory. This 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 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 health 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).