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February 2024

News for medical practitioners

In this month's issue:

Chair’s message

National Cabinet has asked us to look at how we can use regulation to help strengthen Australia’s health workforce. There’s a specific request to help get more medical specialists into practice and providing care to patients in Australia. In the months ahead, we’ll be working with specialist colleges and other partners to make this happen.

Dr Anne Tonkin AO
Chair, Medical Board of Australia

Medical Board of Australia news

Are you interested in joining the national Medical Board?

There are opportunities for eight practitioner and three community members to join the Medical Board of Australia as the terms of current Board members expire.

Registered practitioners can also express interest in the role of Chair of the Board.

Applications close 25 February 2024.

To apply or get more information see Ahpra’s Statutory appointments page.

Training data ready to explore

Five years’ data from the Medical Training Survey (MTS) is now accessible and searchable with the online reporting tool on the MTS website.

The results of the 2023 MTS were published in static reports in November 2023. From February 2024, you can create tailored reports and compare results across sites, jurisdictions and specialties with the national average using the online data dashboard.

You can output results in both pdf and excel format and create trend reports comparing data across years.

There are also new one-page infographic reports for all colleges and cohorts of doctors in training.

Make the most of MTS data! We’ve published a short video and user guide with tips on using the interactive data dashboard to help you create your own reports.

Visit the MTS website to access the 2023 results, reports and dashboard.

CPD for PGY2s and PGY3+

This year’s changes to continuing professional development (CPD) affect many PGY2s and PGY3+, who will need a CPD home to do their 2024 CPD – with some exceptions.

  • Interns
    • DO NOT need a CPD home
  • PGY2s
    • in an accredited training program – DO NOT need a CPD home
    • in a supervised clinical practice position in a hospital or general practice – DO NOT need a CPD home
    • working independently or outside a supervised practice position in a hospital or general practice – DO need a CPD home
  • PGY3+
    • NOT IN a specialist college training program - DO need a CPD home
    • IN a specialist college training program – your college is your CPD home

Those who need a CPD home can choose from any of the 20 AMC-accredited homes for their 2024 CPD.

Choose your home before you start doing this year’s CPD. You’ll need to tell the Board the name of your CPD home when you renew your medical registration in 2024.

You’ll find more on CPD – what’s changing and what you need to do – on the Medical Board’s CPD page.

Medical Board, Ahpra, AMA annual workshop

Leaders of the Medical Board, Ahpra and the Australian Medical Association (AMA) met in December 2023 for their annual workshop. Discussions focused on complaints management by the Medical Board and Ahpra and covered other shared interests including legislative amendments, cosmetic surgery reforms, work arising from the work of the Expert Advisory Group on practitioner distress, and workforce issues including retiring practitioners. You can read more in the communiqué on our News page.

You need to let us know when …

Did you know that you have to tell the Board about certain events? Some are administrative, so we can contact you, and some may indicate a change to your risk profile that could warrant closer regulatory review.

Under the National Law, you need to tell us within seven days if:

  • you have been charged or convicted of certain offences
  • you no longer have professional indemnity insurance
  • your right to practise at a facility, your Medicare billing rights or your prescribing rights are withdrawn or restricted
  • your medical registration in another country is restricted, suspended or cancelled, or
  • a complaint is made about you to certain organisations such as Medicare, a health department or the Department of Home Affairs.

To make sure we can contact you if we need to, you are also obliged to tell us within 30 days about any changes to your:

  • principal place of practice
  • contact address, and
  • name.

There are also professional obligations that are part and parcel of being a registered doctor. From a regulatory perspective, these include:

  • meeting continuing professional development (CPD) standards, including having a CPD home
  • meeting recency of practice standards, including completing necessary training if you change your scope of practice
  • meeting professional indemnity insurance (PII) standards – including having appropriate PII either through your employer and/or privately.

A full list of the ‘relevant events’ that you are obliged to tell us about is included in the ‘Notice of certain events’ form published on the Ahpra website.

Ahpra’s program of random audits checks practitioners’ compliance with regulatory requirements.

To update your address and contact details log into your Ahpra account or if the change of personal details includes a name change, use the ‘Request for change of personal details’ form on the Common forms page.

Accreditation: providing high-quality education and training

The Board has approved the following specialist medical college program of study.

Provider Program Approved Expiry
Australasian College of Dermatologists
Fellowship of the Australasian College of Dermatologists
13 December 2023
31 March 2028


Non-surgical cosmetic procedures consultation extended

You’ve got until 1 March 2024 to tell us what you think about possible new rules to increase patient safety, promote informed consent and reduce risk from non-surgical cosmetic procedures.

National Boards are consulting on three documents for health practitioners who perform and advertise non-surgical cosmetic procedures:

  1. Guidelines for registered health practitioners who advertise non-surgical cosmetic procedures (for all registered health practitioners including medical practitioners)
  2. Guidelines for nurses who perform non-surgical cosmetic procedures (for nurses only)
  3. Guidelines for registered health practitioners who perform non-surgical cosmetic procedures (for other health practitioners; not for medical practitioners because there are existing guidelines for doctors).

The draft shared advertising guidelines will apply to anyone advertising non-surgical cosmetic procedures, including medical practitioners, nurses and dentists.

The draft practice guidelines are for health practitioners (other than doctors) performing non-surgical cosmetic procedures – including nurses and dentists. If you work in cosmetic procedures with other health practitioners, please share your thoughts.

Consultation is open until 1 March 2024.

Read the draft guidelines and have your say on the Medical Board’s consultation page.

Medical regulation at work

Latest tribunal decisions published

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. Here are the recently published decisions:

  • a West Australian psychiatrist has been reprimanded for inappropriate prescribing and inadequate clinical record-keeping (Medical Board of Australia and Roberts)
  • a South Australian cardiologist who was jailed for accessing and possessing child exploitation materials has had his registration cancelled by a tribunal and been disqualified from applying for registration for 10 years (Medical Board of Australia v McGavigan)
  • a Victorian general practitioner has been suspended for treating six members of her family, including prescribing Schedule 8 medications without a permit (Medical Board of Australia v AEB)
  • a West Australian ophthalmologist has been reprimanded and disqualified from applying for registration for two years for inappropriate sexual behaviour (Medical Board of Australia and Crawford)
  • a Queensland doctor has been cautioned after he accepted a person as a patient with whom he had had a personal relationship. The tribunal decided he had no case to answer on two other allegations (Medical Board of Australia v TXA).

Publication of panel, court and tribunal decisions

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 Medical 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 Ahpra’s website on the How to raise a concern about a health practitioner page.

Contacting the Board

Mail correspondence can be addressed to: Dr Anne Tonkin AO, Chair, Medical Board of Australia, GPO Box 9958, Melbourne, VIC 3001.

More information

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.

Comments on the Board newsletter are welcome, send your feedback and suggestions to [email protected].

For registration enquiries or contact detail changes, call the Ahpra customer service team on 1300 419 495 (from within Australia).

Page reviewed 28/03/2024