January 2020

Update Medical Board of Australia

Medical Board of Australia news

Medical Training Survey

Results available soon

The results from the first Medical Training Survey (MTS) will be available in early February on the MTS website.
We will be publishing a national report. We will also be publishing reports for each state and territory, college and doctor-in-training cohort. Everyone will also have access to our custom-built interactive data dashboard to create their own reports.

More information will be available on the MTS website in February. 

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Competent Authority pathway

Changes to the Competent Authority pathway for international medical graduates

We have made some changes to the Competent Authority pathway for international medical graduates (IMGs), to reflect changes made by competent authorities in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

The General Medical Council (GMC) and the Medical Council of Ireland (MCI) now accredit medical courses outside the United Kingdom and Ireland respectively.

The Medical Board will accept qualifications from medical courses accredited by a competent authority that are conducted outside the competent authority country. The changes only apply to category B (courses accredited by the GMC) and category F (courses accredited by the MCI). To be eligible for category B or category F, the course must be on the Board’s list of eligible offshore courses.

Background

The Competent Authority pathway is for IMGs who have medical qualifications or who have successfully completed examinations/assessment for medical registration from prescribed competent authorities. To be eligible for the Competent Authority pathway, they must also have completed prescribed experience in the competent authority countries (UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland). This pathway leads to general registration.

The prescribed experience component required in this pathway has not changed and is detailed on the Competent Authority pathway page.

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Consultations

Let us know what you think about proposed changes to our CPD registration standard

The Medical Board’s public consultation on the proposed revised registration standard for continuing professional development (CPD) is open until mid-February.

The proposed revised standard builds on existing arrangements and strengthens CPD requirements for all medical practitioners.

The consultation paper, including the proposed revised CPD registration standard, is published on the Current consultations page.

The Board is not proposing fundamentally new processes through the revised standard. Rather, the goal is to extract more value from existing CPD programs and encourage development and innovation.

The proposed standard was developed by doctors and is evidence-informed. It would require medical practitioners to do a range of activities that have been shown to improve performance. These include educational activities, reviewing performance and measuring outcomes.

Under the proposed CPD registration standard all doctors must:

  • complete a minimum of 50 hours of CPD per year that includes a mix of:
    • at least 25 per cent on activities that review performance 
    • at least 25 per cent on activities that measure outcomes, and
    • at least 25 per cent on educational activities
  • have a CPD home and participate in its CPD program
  • do CPD that is relevant to their scope of practice
  • base their CPD on a personal professional development plan. 

Specialist trainees will meet these requirements by participating in a specialist training program. The proposed standard would not apply to interns.

You can read more about the reasons behind the changes in the consultation paper on the Current consultations page.

The consultation is open until 14 February 2020. We are keen to know what you think.

Consultation on Good practice guidelines for specialist IMG assessments

The Medical Board’s public consultation on revised guidelines (standards) for the specialist international medical graduate (SIMG) assessment process is open until mid-February.

The accredited specialist medical colleges assess SIMGs who are seeking specialist registration. The Medical Board’s existing Good practice guidelines for the specialist international medical graduate assessment process set the Board’s expectations of the assessment process for SIMGs.

The revised version responds to the findings and recommendations of the Deloitte Access Economics Final report – External review of the specialist medical colleges’ performance – specialist international medical graduate assessment process. It also addresses requests from specialist medical colleges for further guidance. While we refresh the content, we are proposing a name-change from ‘guidelines’ to ‘standards’ to better reflect the purpose of the document.

The proposed standards do not significantly change existing assessment processes for SIMGs. They aim to make existing processes clearer and improve transparency and procedural fairness in the process.

You can read more about the proposed standards in the consultation paper on the Current consultations page.

The consultation is open until 14 February 2020. We welcome all feedback including from colleges, employers and SIMGs.

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Alerts

Victorian medical practitioners: information on the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act

On 1 July 2019, the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 (Vic) began operation in Victoria. The Board draws specific attention to section 8 of the Act, which states that a registered health practitioner who provides health services or professional care services to a person must not, in the course of providing those services to the person:

  • initiate a discussion that is, in substance, about voluntary assisted dying (s 8(1)(a))
  • in substance, suggest voluntary assisted dying to that person (s 8(1)(b)).

A breach of this requirement is deemed to be unprofessional conduct for the purposes of the National Law1 (s 8(3)). It is noted, however, that section 8 does not prevent a health practitioner providing information about voluntary assisted dying to a person at that person’s request (s 8(2)) (emphasis added).

We encourage Victorian medical practitioners who have not already done so, to review the Act and familiarise themselves with its requirements.

If you need further information, we encourage you to contact your professional association or professional indemnity insurer. Information about the Act, published by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, is available on the DHHS website.


 1 The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory (the National Law)


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Medical regulation at work

Latest tribunal decisions have been published online

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. These cases were published recently:

  • the State Administrative Tribunal of Western Australia has reprimanded a radiation oncologist and disqualified him from applying for registration for three and a half years for defrauding the Department of Health (Medical Board of Australia v Kuan)
  • the South Australian Health Practitioners Tribunal has reprimanded and suspended a general practitioner and imposed conditions on his registration for inappropriate prescribing of steroids (Medical Board of Australia v Hadges)
  • the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has disqualified a general practitioner for three years and ten months for being convicted of two criminal offences, failing to comply with chaperone conditions and engaging in inappropriate billing practices (Medical Board of Australia v Dhillon)
  • the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has reprimanded a medical practitioner and placed conditions on her registration for falsifying medical documents and providing them to her employer (Medical Board of Australia v POS)
  • the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has reprimanded a general practitioner for prescribing inappropriate and excessive amounts of testosterone (Medical Board of Australia v Xie)
  • the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has reprimanded a general practitioner for prescribing inappropriate and excessive amounts of testosterone (Medical Board of Australia v Hanna)
  • the Australian Capital Territory Civil and Administrative Tribunal has confirmed it necessary to impose gender-based restrictions on a general practitioner (Al-Naser v Medical Board of Australia)
  • the Court of Appeal in Western Australia has dismissed an appeal by a physician, upholding the State Administrative Tribunal of Western Australia’s decision that he be disqualified from applying for re-registration for a period of ten years for inappropriately prescribing drugs, including anabolic steroids, human growth hormones and other treatments, for which there was no proper therapeutic indication, thus unnecessarily putting patients at risk of adverse effects (Singh v Medical Board of Australia).

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 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 Make a complaint page.

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Contacting the Board

  • The Medical Board of Australia and Ahpra can be contacted by phone on 1300 419 495.
  • For more information, see the Medical Board of Australia website and the Ahpra website.
  • Lodge an enquiry form through the website under Contact us at the bottom of every web page.
  • Mail correspondence can be addressed to: Dr Anne Tonkin, 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.

Comment on the Board newsletter is welcome and should be sent to newsletters@ahpra.gov.au.

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

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Page reviewed 29/01/2020