There are important lessons for registered medical practitioners from tribunal decisions. The Medical Board of Australia (the Board) refers the most serious concerns about medical practitioners to tribunals in each state and territory. Cases published recently have included:
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (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 Medical 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 requirements of the National Law.
Summaries of tribunal or court cases are published at Court and tribunal decisions on the AHPRA website. The Board and AHPRA sometimes choose to not publish summaries, for example about cases involving practitioners with impairment.
In NSW and Queensland, different arrangements are in place. More information is available on AHPRA’s website on the Make a complaint page.
1The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory
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Wellness Enterprises Pty Limited, which traded as the Australian Male Hormone Clinic, has been fined $127,500 plus costs after advertising in newspapers around Australia between February and August 2017 about treatment for testosterone deficiency.
The full page ‘advertorial’ style advertisements made a number of claims about the benefits of treatment, including increased energy, focus, masculinity and strength and the ability to satisfy sexual partners. AHPRA challenged the validity of the claims, citing best available evidence.
This is the first time that a corporation, not an individual health practitioner, has been convicted under the National Law advertising provisions. AHPRA brought the charges under section 133 of the National Law, which requires both individual practitioners and businesses to comply with advertising requirements.
Wellness Enterprises Pty Limited was incorporated on 13 April 2016 and was placed into voluntary liquidation on 12 September 2017.
Read more in the media release: Australian-first with corporation fined $127,500 for unlawful advertising.
A court has fined a Victorian woman $20,000 and ordered her to pay costs, after AHPRA successfully prosecuted her for holding out as (claiming to be) a registered medical practitioner and psychologist.
For seven months in 2016, the woman worked at a Victorian ‘wellness retreat’ for people suffering substance abuse, depression, anxiety and other behavioural issues. The woman conducted group and individual psychology sessions and drafted reports for retreat participants for use in workers’ compensation proceedings and court cases. She also liaised with authorities on behalf of her ‘patients', including on family violence matters.
AHPRA prosecuted the case on behalf of the Medical Board of Australia and the Psychology Board of Australia, after her former employer discovered she was not a registered medical practitioner or psychologist. It is an offence under the National Law to purport to be a registered health practitioner if you are not.
Read more in the media release:Victorian woman fined $20,000 for posing as a psychologist and a general practitioner.
There are times when doctors are obliged to tell the Board that something has happened. These are called ‘relevant events’ and are detailed in section 130 of the National Law.
Some of the things you are obliged to tell us about within seven days include:
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. There are slightly different requirements for registered students.
You must also tell us within 30 days about any changes to your:
To inform us of a relevant event, please complete the Notice of certain events form.
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.
We are pleased to report that of the medical practitioners who have renewed their registration, 97 per cent renewed on time, and 99 per cent renewed online.
Medical practitioners with general, specialist and non-practising registration were due to renew their registration by 30 September 2017. If you meant to renew and still haven’t, you can renew in October, but a late fee applies.
Under the National Law, practitioners who do not renew their registration within one month of their registration expiry date must be removed from the national register of practitioners. Their registration will lapse and they will not be able to practise medicine in Australia until a new application for registration is approved.
New members have been appointed to some state and territory medical boards and other new appointments will be announced soon.
New board members have been announced in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Tasmania and Western Australia. The following members are appointed:
Dr Kerrie Bradbury (practitioner member and Chair)
Dr Emma Adams (practitioner member)
Dr Tobias Angstmann (practitioner member)
Ms Vicki Brown (community member)
Ms Catherine Gauthier (community member)
Dr Janelle Hamilton (practitioner member)
Mr Robert Little (community member)
Dr Jill van Acker (practitioner member)
Dr Peter Warfe (practitioner member)
Associate Professor Stephen Adelstein (practitioner member and Presiding member)
Dr Jennifer Davidson (practitioner member)
Dr Sergio Diez Alvarez (practitioner member)
Dr Amanda Mead (community member)
Dr Robyn Napier OAM (practitioner member)
Adjunct Professor Abdullah Omari (practitioner member)
Ms Jebby Phillips (community member)
Professor Allan Spigelman (practitioner member)
Mr John Stubbs (community member)
Dr Andrew Mulcahy (practitioner member and Chair)
Dr Anelisa Dazzi Chequer de Souza (practitioner member)
Dr Kristen FitzGerald (practitioner member)
Mr Fergus Leicester (community member)
Ms Leigh Mackey (community member)
Dr Gavin Mackie (practitioner member)
Ms Elizabeth Maclaine-Cross (community member)
Dr Colin (George) Merridew (practitioner member)
Dr Philip Moore (practitioner member)
Dr Kim Rooney (practitioner member)
Dr David Saner (practitioner member)
Ms Joan Wylie (community member)
Professor Con Michael AO (practitioner member and Chair)
Ms Mary Adelaide Carroll (community member)
Dr Richelle Douglas (practitioner member)
Dr Alan Duncan (practitioner member)
Dr Mark Edwards (practitioner member)
Dr George Eskander (practitioner member)
Dr Daniel Heredia (practitioner member)
Dr Michael Levitt (practitioner member)
Professor Stephan Millett (community member)
Mr Giovanni (John) Pintabona (community member)
Ms Virginia Rivalland (community member)
Adjunct Professor Peter Wallace OAM (practitioner member)
The current members of each of the state and territory boards can be found on the website at About us. We publish names as Board members start their terms. New Board members in Victoria, South Australia and the Northern Territory will be announced once Ministers have made appointments.
State and territory boards make decisions about individual medical practitioners in each jurisdiction, within a national policy framework set by the National Board. 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.
Each Minister for Health appoints practitioner and community members to the medical board in their state and territory. Appointments are for up to three years and members are eligible for reappointment.
The following members have recently finished their term on the Board:
Ms Rosemary Kusuma (community member)
Dr Mark Nicholls (practitioner member)
Dr Brian Bowring (practitioner member)
Mr David Brereton (community member)
Dr Fiona Joske (practitioner member)
Dr Peter Dohrmann (practitioner member and Chair)
Dr William Kelly (practitioner member)
Professor Bryant Stokes (practitioner member)
Ms Nicoletta Ciffolilli (community member)
Dr Michael McComish (practitioner member)
Professor Mark McKenna (practitioner member)
The following member will finish his term on 31 December 2017:
Mr Don Malcolmson (community member)
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.
Medical students who will complete their approved program of study by the end of 2017, can apply now for provisional registration through the online graduate application service.
Students can apply early to make sure they are registered and ready to start their internship as soon as education providers confirm the names of successful graduates with AHPRA.
You can encourage any final year medical students you know to find out more on the AHPRA website under Graduate applications.
There is also more information in this news item.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
For registration enquiries or contact detail changes, call the AHPRA customer service team on 1300 419 495 (from within Australia).