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July 2016

Update Medical Board of Australia

Maintaining patient trust

Revalidation consultative committee appointed and news on our upcoming consultation

Next month, we will take the next major step towards making sure that doctors in Australia maintain the skills they need to provide safe and ethical care to patients throughout their working lives.

On 16 August 2016, we will launch the interim report of the Expert Advisory Group (EAG) we established to advise the Board on options for revalidation that are tailored to the Australian healthcare sector. At the same time, we will publish the results of the social research we commissioned to find out what medical practitioners and the community think about what doctors should do to remain fit to practise.

In the last month, we have appointed the Consultative Committee on revalidation, which will provide a forum for discussion and exchange of views on the approach proposed by the EAG. Organisations represented on the Consultative Committee, which will be chaired by Medical Board Chair, Dr Joanna Flynn AM, include the Australian Medical Council, the Committee of Presidents of Medical Colleges, the Australian Medical Association, Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand, the Health Workforce Principal Committee of the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Committee, AHPRA1, the Medical Council of New South Wales, health complaints entities, pre-vocational training organisations and professional indemnity insurers. There are also community representatives. The Consultative Committee will have its first meeting in August.

The launch will mark the start of a discussion with our stakeholders in the profession and the community about the approach recommended by the EAG. This discussion will continue from August to November, and we will provide different ways for you to tell us what you think. Read the next Update for more detail about what the EAG recommends, what the social research tells us, and how you can get involved.  

1The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

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Doctors' health programs

Victorian and Tasmanian services start

Victoria and Tasmania have now joined the new $2m national network of doctors’ health services, cementing the access of doctors and medical students to advisory, referral and advocacy services.

Victoria has long-established expertise in the area of doctors’ health and wellbeing, and the Victorian Doctors’ Health Program (VDHP) has agreed to support the provision of services in Tasmania. This will help to improve the level of support given to the medical profession in Tasmania.

New funding arrangements have now been finalised between Doctors’ Health Services Pty Ltd (DrHS) and VDHP. The Board is funding DrHS, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Australian Medical Association (AMA), to coordinate the delivery of doctors’ health services for doctors and medical students in all states and territories.

This brings Victoria and Tasmania into the national network with Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory, and the Northern Territory. Arrangements for services in Western Australia are still being finalised.

Read more in the AMA media release

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Renewal for 2016-17

Registration renewal starts soon

It is nearly time to apply to renew your medical registration. As usual, AHPRA will send you an email telling you when online renewal opens and what to do. This year we are adding an extra step in the process, to help make sure that the details we publish about your registration are accurate and complete. This will help maintain the integrity of the online national register of practitioners.

We will ask you to check that your medical qualification(s) are recorded correctly and are complete. If you have registration as a specialist, we will ask you about how you became eligible for specialist registration.

Confirming your qualification(s)

The register should include details of any qualifications you relied on to obtain registration. This is a requirement of the National Law (section 225n).

When you renew your general and/or specialist registration you will be asked if the details we have about your qualification(s) are correct:

  • if the details are correct, simply select ‘Yes’. You don’t need to do anything else.
  • if the information about your qualification(s) is incorrect or incomplete, select ‘No’ and give us the correct/missing information. AHPRA will contact you if we need any further information.

Confirming your pathway for specialist registration

If you have specialist registration, we will be asking you about how you became eligible for specialist registration. This is to maintain the integrity of the national register.

For example, you may have:

  • been awarded Fellowship by an accredited specialist medical college
  • a specialist qualification from overseas which was recognised by an accredited specialist medical college, or
  • transitioned into the National Scheme from a state or territory medical board with specialist registration.

There is also an option to select if you are unsure of your pathway or eligibility. We will be in touch with any questions. However, this won’t delay your application for renewal of registration.

AHPRA will soon be sending emails advising practitioners with general and specialist registration, when online renewals are open. Medical practitioners must renew before 30 September.

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Quarterly performance reports

Latest performance report published

The January to March 2016 quarterly performance reports for AHPRA and the National Boards are now available.

The reports are part of an ongoing drive by AHPRA and the National Boards to increase their accountability and transparency.

Each report includes data specific to each state and territory and cover AHPRA and the National Boards’ main areas of activity:

  • managing applications for registration as a health practitioner
  • managing notifications about the health, performance and conduct of registered health practitioners and offences against the National Law, and
  • monitoring health practitioners and students with restrictions on their registration.

The reports are available on the AHPRA Statistics page.

We welcome feedback on the reports ‒ please email feedback to: [email protected].  

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Quarterly registration data released.

Latest profession statistics released

The Board publishes statistics each quarter profiling the profession. Data are broken down by state and territory, by registration type and for specialists by specialty and field of specialty.

The latest data have just been released and are available on the Board’s website under Statistics on the News page.

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News and alerts

Changes to state and territory Board membership

The Medical Board of Australia has established state and territory boards to make decisions about individual medical practitioners in each jurisdiction. This includes most registration and notification decisions.

The National Board has delegated many of its powers so that local decision-makers can respond effectively and in a timely way to local matters, working within a national policy framework.

The state and territory boards are made up of practitioner and community members and are appointed by the Minister for Health in each jurisdiction. Appointments are for up to three years and members are eligible for reappointment.

A number of board members’ appointments expired on 30 June 2016 and a number of appointments have been announced. The current members of state and territory boards can be found on the website at About us.

The Medical Board of Australia thanks the state and territory board members who recently finished their terms on boards and welcomes all the members appointed.

Thank you to the outgoing Chair of the ACT Board and welcome to the new Chair

Associate Professor Stephen Bradshaw finished his term as Chair of the ACT Board of the Medical Board of Australia. Associate Professor Bradshaw, a vascular surgeon, has been involved in medical regulation as a member of the ACT Medical Board since 1998 and has provided leadership as Chair of the ACT Board through the transition to the National Scheme. The Medical Board of Australia thanks him for his dedication. Associate Professor Bradshaw will continue his work in medical regulation at a national level, in his role as a practitioner member of the National Board.

Dr Kerrie Bradbury, a general practitioner, has been appointed as Chair of the ACT Board. She is an experienced Board member with experience in both the clinical setting and in medical regulation. The Medical Board welcomes her to her new role. 

Call for applications for appointment to a Scheduled Medicines Expert Committee

AHPRA seeks expressions of interest from suitably qualified and experienced people to be appointed to a Scheduled Medicines Expert Committee (the Expert Committee).

The role of the Expert Committee is to advise the National Boards on policy related to the use of scheduled medicines, including matters relevant to National Boards developing submissions for endorsements for scheduled medicines for consideration by the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council.

Appointments are for up to three years, from late September 2016.

For more information, please see the call for applications on AHPRA’s website.

Applications close Monday 22 August 2016.

New World Directory of Medical Schools (WDOMS) replaces IMED FAIMER

On 1 June 2016, the World Directory of Medical Schools (WDOMS) replaced the Foundation for International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER’s) International Medical Education Directory (IMED) service.

To check that their qualifications are acceptable for limited or provisional registration, international medical graduates (IMGs) must now check the WDOMS list rather than the IMED FAIMER list.

The Australian Medical Council (AMC) has developed a new search tool to assist IMGs to easily identify eligible medical schools and qualifications (the WDOMS list includes some qualifications that are not accepted by the AMC).

To be eligible to apply for limited or provisional registration, an IMG’s primary qualification in medicine and surgery must have been awarded by a medical school recognised by both the Australian Medical Council and WDOMS.

The eligible qualifications have not changed – the service available to check eligibility has changed.

Further information about the Board’s registration pathways is available on the Board’s website.  

Nomenclature compendium of commonly used Chinese herbal medicines

The Chinese Medicine Board of Australia commissioned the development of a Nomenclature compendium of commonly used Chinese herbal medicines, which is published on the Chinese Medicine Board’s website along with a user guide.

The searchable compendium cross-references almost 700 commonly used Chinese herbs and allows the user to enter the authorised Pin Yin name for a medicine to easily identify what herbal medicine a patient is taking and obtain other useful information about the medicine.

Medical practitioners may find this information helpful in their practice.  

Inquiry into Queensland OHO

In June, a committee of the Queensland Parliament decided to conduct an inquiry into the performance of the Health Ombudsman’s functions pursuant to section 179 of the Health Ombudsman Act 2013. Issues to be considered include:

  • the operation of the health service complaints management system
  • ways in which the health service complaints management system might be improved
  • the performance by the health ombudsman of the health ombudsman’s functions under the Health Ombudsman Act 2013
  • review the National Boards’ and AHPRA’s performance of their functions relating to the health, conduct and performance of registered health practitioners who provide health services in Queensland, and
  • any other matter about the health service complaints management system.

Submissions are open until 8 August 2016. More information is available on the Queensland Parliament webpage.

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Panel, court and tribunal decisions.

Latest tribunal decisions published online

AHPRA on behalf of the 14 National Boards publishes a record of panel, court and tribunal decisions about registered health practitioners.

Court and tribunal decisions

Under the National Law, the Board must refer a matter about a registered medical practitioner or student to a tribunal if the Board reasonably believes that the practitioner has behaved in a way that constitutes professional misconduct; or the practitioner’s registration was improperly obtained because the Board was given false or misleading information. The Board must also refer the matter to a tribunal if a panel established by the Board requires the Board to do so.

Medical practitioners may also appeal certain decisions of the Board to a tribunal or court.

AHPRA publishes summaries of tribunal or court cases. These can be sourced at Tribunal decisions on the AHPRA website. The Board and AHPRA sometimes choose to not publish summaries, for example about cases involving practitioners with impairment.

A full library of published hearing decisions from tribunals or courts relating to complaints and notifications made about health practitioners or students is available on the Austlii website

NSW and Queensland

In NSW and Queensland, different arrangements are in place.

In NSW, medical tribunal, court and committee decisions are published separately. In Queensland, complaints are received by the Office of the Health Ombudsman (OHO).

More information is available on AHPRA’s website under Notification outcomes and hearing decisions.

Recent decisions of tribunals

Medical Board of Australia v Black

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has reprimanded Dr Alexander Black and suspended his registration for professional misconduct for possessing child pornography. Read more in the tribunal summary.

Medical Board of Australia v Denford

The Western Australian State Administrative Tribunal has reprimanded Mr Aran Denford and cancelled his medical registration and disqualified him for applying for registration for two and a half years for accessing child pornography. Read more in the tribunal summary.

Medical Board of Australia v Shimmari

The Western Australian State Administrative Tribunal has reprimanded Dr Nadhum Shimmari for engaging in professional misconduct and ordered him to carry out further education and mentoring. Read more in the tribunal summary.

Medical Board of Australia v Ong

The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal has suspended the registration of Dr Michelle Ong for professional misconduct. Read more in the tribunal summary.

Medical Board of Australia v Hugo

The State Administrative Tribunal of Western Australian has reprimanded Dr Andre Hugo for professional misconduct and unsatisfactory professional performance. Read more in the tribunal summary.

Panel hearings

When investigating a notification, state and territory committees of the Medical Board of Australia 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. Summaries have been provided when there is educational and clinical value. These summaries are accessible from hyperlinks within the table. Practitioners' names are not published, consistent with the requirements of the National Law. This table does not include summaries of panel decisions made under previous legislation, even if these were held after July 2010.

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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 Joanna Flynn AM, 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 [email protected].

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 28/11/2023