July 2021

Update Medical Board of Australia


Chair’s message 

We all have a role in building a culture of respect in healthcare in Australia. Speaking up about disrespectful behaviour and unprofessional conduct supports a safer healthcare system for everyone. Agencies across the sector are testing different strategies to foster a culture of respect, including finding safe ways for everyone to speak up if they need to. Employers and colleges are starting to apply the evidence gathered from trainees in the Medical Training Survey to improve the culture of medicine and strengthen medical training. Also this month, National Boards and Ahpra issued a joint statement affirming that there is no place for sexism, sexual harassment or gendered violence in healthcare. Working together towards this common goal will keep our patients safe and our profession healthy.

Dr Anne Tonkin
Chair, Medical Board of Australia

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Medical Board of Australia news

Medical Training Survey opens soon

Watch out for the 2021 Medical Training Survey

The 2021 Medical Training Survey (MTS) opens on 2 August, giving Australia's 35,000+ doctors in training a voice about the quality and experience of medical training in Australia.

Most MTS questions are repeated in 2021, because comparisons are important. Format and layout are refined and streamlined each year to make the MTS quicker and easier to do. Again this year, the MTS is asking trainees about the impact of COVID-19 on training.

The MTS is a longitudinal, profession-wide survey of the strengths and weaknesses of medical training across states, territories and medical specialties in Australia.

Stringent privacy controls make it safe and confidential for trainees to take part. The MTS is the only national survey open to all doctors in training and is run by the Medical Board of Australia.

MTS data is public and accessible. We can all use it to show what’s happening in our state/territory, college, hospital, gender, age or training post. Agencies across the health sector are already using the data to shape improvements to training.

Headline results from 2020 indicated there’s a lot going well in medical training in Australia, but there is work to be done to improve the culture of medicine. Read more about the findings from 2020 and how results are being applied to improve training on the MTS website.

If you’re a doctor in training, you can do the MTS when you renew your medical registration. Look out for the MTS link at the end of the registration renewal process.

If you’re an intern or an international medical graduate, look out for your unique MTS survey link in an email from the Medical Board of Australia.

If you’re a trainee, please do the 2021 MTS. Other doctors - please support your colleague doctors in training to do the 2021 MTS.

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2021 Registration renewal

Registration renewal due soon

Registration renewal for medical practitioners with general, specialist and non-practising registration opens in August 2021.

If you perform exposure-prone procedures, this year we’re asking whether you have complied with the Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA) guidelines: Australian national guidelines for the management of healthcare workers living with blood borne viruses and healthcare workers who perform exposure prone procedures at risk of exposure to blood borne viruses.

You just need to make a yes / no declaration about your compliance – we’re not asking for your test results.

Information and FAQs for medical practitioners are on the registration renewal page, where you will also find information about:

  • CPD requirements – while the Board requires you to meet the CPD registration standard for 2021, it is important to read the detail because you may be impacted if you were unable to complete part of your CPD requirements in 2020 as a result of COVID-19
  • a financial hardship payment plan if you are experiencing genuine financial hardship.

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Specialist international medical graduate assessment

New specialist pathway data published

2020 data on specialist international medical graduates (SIMGs) on the specialist pathway are now published.

Data are collected and collated from all specialist medical colleges and include the number of SIMG applications for assessment and assessment timeframes. The data are reported against benchmarks set by the Medical Board of Australia.

This year we publish data on the total time a SIMG is on the specialist pathway, from application to recommendation for specialist recognition. This change was suggested by the Accreditation Systems Review.

Total time on the pathway varies between SIMGs and is influenced by many factors. These include factors controlled by colleges as well as decisions made by individual SIMGs (e.g. postponement of their assessment interview).

2020 data show that COVID-19 had a significant effect on the number of SIMGs applying for the specialist pathway and on some college assessment timeframes.

Each specialist medical college assesses SIMGs who wish to practise in their specialty in Australia. Each assessment is individualised but in general, SIMGs are required to satisfactorily complete a period of supervised practice and pass college assessments before they apply for specialist registration.

2020 data are published on the Board’s IMG specialist pathway page.

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Accreditation

Providing high quality education and training

The Board has approved the following:

Medical school program of study

Provider  Program  Approved  Expiry 
University of Adelaide   Bachelor of Medical Studies and Doctor of Medicine program

Six-year program  
28 June 2021  31 March 2023 

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News and alerts

Position statement: No place for sexism, sexual harassment or violence in healthcare

We all have a role in building and maintaining a culture of respect in healthcare.

Ahpra and the National Boards have published a position statement encouraging practitioners to speak up about disrespectful behaviour and unprofessional conduct, to support a safer healthcare system for everyone.

The statement reminds practitioners that there is no place for sexism, sexual harassment or gendered violence in healthcare.

Respect is a cornerstone of good professional practice and is fundamental to the Australian community’s trust in registered health practitioners. Unprofessional conduct, including sexual harassment or assault is contrary to the National Boards’ codes of conduct (or equivalent).

Read the position statement.

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Who’s who in NSW medical regulation

A podcast explaining how co-regulation of registered health practitioners works in New South Wales has been published by the Medical Council of New South Wales.

The podcast features Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) Executive Director of Regulatory Operations, Kym Ayscough, along with Medical Council of New South Wales President, Dr John Sammut, and Health Care Complaints Commission Executive Director of Complaints Operation, Tony Kofkin.

The 20-minute podcast breaks down the different roles of each regulator in NSW, compared to the rest of Australia, and how the three regulators manage co-regulation across 16 health professions.

The podcast is hosted by Dr Martine Walker, a general practitioner, hearing member and Medical Advisor for the Medical Council of New South Wales.

More information and a link to the podcast is on the Medical Board website.

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Media statement – Fake cosmetic doctor convicted

Ahpra published this media statement this month:

Fake cosmetic doctor convicted following prosecution by Ahpra – A Victorian woman who operated a cosmetic clinic in Wheelers Hill has been convicted of falsely claiming to be a medical practitioner and a haematology specialist.

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Child sexual offences: New penalties in Queensland

Changes to the Queensland criminal code include jail for adults who fail to protect a child from a sexual offence.

Failing to protect a child from a sexual offence in an institutional setting, and failing to report sexual offending against a child by another adult to police, are both offences that can lead to jail terms.

These new offences recognise the difficulties victims have in disclosing or reporting abuse, the vulnerability of children, and the risk that perpetrators of child sexual abuse may have multiple victims and may continue to reoffend against particular victims over time.

The changes to the criminal code do not replace doctors’ mandatory reporting obligations under the Child Protection Act 1999 (Qld) (the CP Act).

The change to the law applies to all registered health practitioners. More information is on the Queensland Government website.

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Medical regulation at work

Latest tribunal decisions published

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 decisions were published recently:

  • the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has suspended a general practitioner and imposed conditions on his registration for inappropriately prescribing peptides and other substances to patients and himself (Medical Board of Australia v Moschou)
  • the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has upheld the Medical Board of Australia’s decision to take immediate action and suspend a medical practitioner facing sexual assault charges (Cassim v Medical Board of Australia)
  • the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal has set aside the Medical Board of Australia’s decision to impose conditions on a doctor after allegations of inappropriate conduct and/or performance (Rao 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 Aphra’s website on the Concerned about a practitioner? 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 2/08/2021