October 2020

Update Medical Board of Australia

Chair’s message 

More than 21,000 doctors in training have shared feedback about their training in the 2020 Medical Training Survey (MTS). That’s a 57 per cent response rate, more than double last year, which is fantastic! The results will tell us directly from doctors in training what’s going well and where there are opportunities to do better. Results will be published in February 2021, reporting on a robust, national dataset. A huge thank you to all the doctors in training who made the time to do the MTS. And thank you and congratulations to the many individuals and organisations involved in medical training who helped spread the word about the importance of the MTS.

Dr Anne Tonkin
Chair, Medical Board of Australia

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Medical Board of Australia news

Medical Training Survey

21,000+ doctors in training had their say

More than 21,000 doctors in training did the 2020 Medical Training Survey. That’s a 57 per cent response rate – more than double last year!

With such a rich dataset, it will be fascinating to learn more about what’s going well in medical training in Australia and what can be done better. We’re interested to learn how COVID-19 has impacted on training and whether, as we hope, updated questions on bullying and harassment paint a clearer picture of the culture of medicine.

In early February 2021, we will publish static reports of 2020 MTS results on the MTS website. As usual, we will prioritise participant confidentiality and only publish results when there are more than 10 responses. Data from 2020 and 2019 will also be accessible – and comparable – through our data dashboard, creating the start of a longitudinal picture. Already, you can use the data dashboard to develop tailored reports from 2019 MTS data.

Again in 2020, a huge team effort underpins this result. Thank you to every one of the doctors in training who shared their perspective on training. This fantastic response rate has generated robust national data that will be able to be used by individuals and agencies across the health sector to support continuous improvement.

We are grateful to the individual doctors in training who lent their support to the MTS – their incredible effort and personal stories shared on social media really boosted participation rates. A huge thank you also to the agencies across the health sector who backed and promoted the 2020 MTS, and the members of our Steering Committee and Advisory Group whose expertise and enthusiasm was again invaluable.

We’re always keen to do better, so if you did the 2020 MTS and have any suggestions about the survey design or layout that would make it easier to follow, get in touch at MTS@ahpra.gov.au.

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Interns

Finishing your intern year in 2020?

When COVID-19 first hit Australia, we changed some of the things that interns in 2020 would need to do to gain general registration

The Board recognised that COVID-19 would expose interns to unique clinical experiences and that flexibility was necessary as we anticipated that health services may have been disrupted to deal with the pandemic.

We waived the usual rotation requirements for Australian medical graduates completing their intern year in 2020 and this year, the Board will:

  • accept supervised clinical experience in accredited and non-accredited positions (when arranged and approved by the employing hospital), and
  • waive the requirement for the usual rotations of medicine, surgery and emergency medical care.

Interns are required to satisfactorily complete 47 weeks full-time equivalent (FTE) supervised practice. The Board will accept less than 47 weeks (but at least 40 weeks FTE) from interns who needed to take sick leave and/or isolate because of COVID-19.

We have amended the Certificate of completion of an accredited internship to include these changes. Directors of Medical Services or Directors of Training (or equivalent) complete this certificate confirming that an intern has met the standard for general registration.

If you are finishing your intern year in 2020 you can apply for general registration online through the Ahpra online services portal. You can apply in the weeks before you are due to complete your internship (but no more than four weeks before the anticipated completion date). You will need to meet the requirements outlined above and pay the required fees. Applying early will enable you to be granted general registration as soon as possible after Ahpra receives your Certificate of completion of an accredited internship from your employer.

For more information about the requirements for general registration and how to apply see:

  • Applying for general registration FAQs, and
  • COVID-19 FAQs for interns

on the Provisional to general registration page.

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2020 registration renewal

Thanks for renewing on time!

We are pleased to report that 95 per cent of medical practitioners renewed their registration on time and 99.2 per cent of you renewed online.

Medical practitioners with general, specialist and non-practising registration were due to renew their registration by 30 September 2020. 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. This could take time. 

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Medical Board vacancies

Do you want to join a state medical board?

Applications are invited from medical practitioners and community members to fill vacancies on two state medical boards.

Queensland medical board:

  • 2 practitioner members
  • 1 community member

Victorian medical board:

  • 1 practitioner member

Applications close Friday 27 November 2020. More information is on Ahpra’s Statutory appointments page. 

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News

Podcasts: Mental healthcare and sexual misconduct

The most recent episodes of the Taking care podcast are on How the pandemic is changing mental healthcare and Sexual misconduct in the health professions.

These and other Ahpra podcasts are available on the Ahpra website. Ahpra releases a new episode every fortnight, discussing current topics and the latest issues affecting safe healthcare in Australia. You can also listen and subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and by searching ‘Taking care’ in your podcast player.

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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. No new cases were published this month.

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 Raise a concern 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 27/10/2020