Medical Board of Australia - May 2018
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May 2018

Update Medical Board of Australia



Random audits show most doctors are meeting Board registration standards

More than 97 per cent of doctors randomly audited by AHPRA complied with the Board’s registration standards.

Australia’s Health Ministers have approved registration standards that all doctors must meet. The registration standards relate to continuing professional development, recency of practice, professional indemnity insurance arrangements, criminal history and English language proficiency. More information about these standards is available on the Registration standards page.

Each year, AHPRA randomly selects and audits registered medical practitioners to check whether they are complying with the registration standards. Further action is taken if practitioners are found not to have met the standards.

In 2016/17, 97.3 per cent of medical practitioners audited were fully compliant with the registration standards that they were audited against. Of those who were not compliant, no further action was necessary in 1.5 per cent of cases as the practitioners had moved to non-practising registration or had surrendered their registration. The remainder required further consideration. Some were subsequently able to meet the standard while others were referred to the Board or other relevant body (such as the Medical Council of NSW or Office of the Health Ombudsman, Queensland).

If you are selected for audit

If you are selected for audit, AHPRA will mail you an audit notice which includes a checklist outlining what you need to do and what information you need to provide to show that you meet the standards being audited.

You can read more about the audit process on the the Board’s website.

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National Training Survey

Work begins for a National Training Survey in 2019

Work has begun on the development of a National Training Survey. We have been working closely with stakeholders to design a survey to better understand and improve the quality of medical training in Australia.

The first survey for doctors in training will run in 2019 and annually thereafter.

We will invite all doctors in training in Australia to participate. This includes interns, hospital medical officers, resident medical officers, non-accredited trainees, postgraduate trainees, principal house officers, registrars and specialist trainees. It does not include career medical officers.

Supervisors will be invited to participate in future surveys.

The survey will be administered by an external company who will analyse the data and generate reports of findings. The Board and AHPRA will not receive any information that identifies individuals.

More information on which organisations are on our Advisory Group and how you can be involved in the development of the survey is available on the National Training Survey page on the Board’s website.

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Intern survey

Intern survey results published

The results of the intern preparedness survey conducted by the Australian Medical Council (AMC) and the Board are now in. It found that 75 per cent of interns surveyed think that medical school had prepared them for the role and responsibilities of an intern. The survey was voluntary and anonymous. Thanks to the 20 per cent of 2017 interns (661 individuals) who took the time to share their views.

These interns also told us that medical school had given them:

  • core clinical skills, including taking a history and examining patients, and patient-related skills such as communication with patients and involving patients in decisions, and
  • other skills such as using handbooks and guidelines, preventing cross-infection, IV cannulation, knowing one’s own limitations and participation in multi-disciplinary teams.

The interns did not feel as well prepared to:

  • prescribe medications and IV fluids, and
  • provide nutritional care, report and deal with error and safety incidents, or understand some parts of hospital systems and self-management skills.

Most interns who did the survey did not think that medical school had prepared them well to seek support for psychological distress, bullying and harassment, or raise concerns about colleagues who were distressed or not performing.

The data from this survey have been very helpful. We will use the data to better align medical training with the real demands of the job. The AMC and the Board will be working with medical schools and other stakeholders as we try to improve intern preparedness.

You can find out more about the results of the survey on the AMC and Medical Board websites.

If you have any questions about the survey you can contact the AMC by email at [email protected].

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Change to the list of specialties

Paediatric emergency medicine field of specialty approved for the specialty of Emergency medicine

The COAG Health Council has approved a revised list of medical specialties, fields of specialty practice and related titles to include the field of Paediatric emergency medicine in the specialty of Emergency medicine. The field of Paediatric emergency medicine will continue to be included in the specialty of Paediatrics and child health. Both specialties will use the same title ‘Specialist paediatric emergency physician’.

This was a minor technical amendment to the list of specialties that reflects the current training arrangements for paediatric emergency medicine.

Emergency medicine specialists completing the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM) program stream that includes the Joint Training Program in Paediatric Emergency Medicine, can now apply for specialist registration in this field of specialty.

The revised list of specialties, fields and related titles takes effect on 1 June 2018 and is available on the Registration standards page.

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Providing high quality education and training

The Board has approved the following: 

Intern training accreditation authority

Authority Approved Expiry
Health Education and Training Institute (HETI) 2 May 2018 31 March 2023

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New tool about testimonials for advertisers

A new tool is now available to help practitioners and advertisers understand their obligations about using testimonials and reviews to advertise regulated health services.

A person must not advertise a regulated health service, or a business that provides a regulated health service, in a way that uses testimonials or purported testimonials about the service or business (section 133(1) of the National Law1).

Using testimonials to advertise regulated health services is prohibited under the National Law because they are not usually a balanced source of information, and typically include a narrow selection of positive comments about patient experiences. Also, the outcomes experienced by one patient do not necessarily reflect the likely outcomes for others, so a testimonial doesn’t tell the whole story.

The tool includes information and flow charts to understand which reviews or feedback can be used in advertising.

The testimonials tool is available along with other Advertising resources on the AHPRA website.

Registration milestone reached 

We reached a significant milestone recently when the National Scheme registered its 700,000th health practitioner.

In 2010 over half a million health practitioners registered for the first time under the new National Scheme, with a further four health professions joining in 2012. This year the number will grow further as paramedics join the National Scheme in late 2018.

At March 2018, there were over 114,000 registered medical practitioners.    

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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. Cases published recently include:

Publication of panel, court and tribunal decisions

AHPRA, on behalf of the 14 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 Law1, 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.

1The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory.

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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 23/04/2024