Medical Board of Australia - April 2024
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April 2024

News for medical practitioners

In this month's issue:

Chair’s message

Algorithms are no substitute for consultations in good medical practice. The Board is a big supporter of telehealth, which is here to stay. But the interaction between a doctor and their patient is an important element in all consultations, including telehealth consultations. More detail in these guidelines on telehealth and in these guidelines on advertising.

Dr Anne Tonkin AO
Chair, Medical Board of Australia

Medical Board of Australia news

Got a CPD home for your 2024 CPD?

Time is running out if you haven’t already chosen and joined a CPD home.

Four months of 2024 are already behind us, which dials up the pressure on doctors who haven’t yet started their annual 50 hours of CPD through a CPD home.

You need a CPD home for your 2024 CPD!

In case it helps, here’s a checklist for your 2024 CPD:

  • choose and join an AMC-accredited CPD home before you start to do your CPD in 2024. Here’s the list of CPD homes – choose one that suits your scope of practice
  • write a professional development plan before you start your annual CPD
  • do 50 hours' CPD in 2024, split across a range of activities:
    • 25 hours – reviewing performance and measuring outcomes:
      • you decide the best mix of these activities to suit your practice, with five hours minimum of each type. (Many CPD homes have helpful lists of practice-based activities that count towards CPD.)
    • 12.5 hours – traditional learning or educational activities – reading, lectures, conferences etc
    • 12.5 hours of activities from any category – you allocate these CPD hours
  • log your CPD activities with your CPD home.

Every doctor needs a CPD home – with a few exceptions. The only doctors who DON’T need a CPD home are:

  • interns in an accredited intern training program
  • PGY2 doctors participating in a PGY2 training program accredited by their state or territory postgraduate medical council (or equivalent), and/or working in supervised clinical practice positions in a hospital or general practice setting. These doctors will be deemed to have met the standard for CPD by participating in their position and any associated education
  • doctors with limited registration in the public interest or limited registration for teaching or research (to demonstrate a procedure or participate in a workshop) and who have been granted registration for no more than four weeks
  • doctors with non-practising registration.

And if you are:

  • absent from practice for six to 12 consecutive months for parental or carer leave, serious illness or other approved circumstances, you need a CPD home so you can apply to it for an exemption or variation to your year’s CPD requirements
  • a specialist trainee – you already meet CPD requirements by participating in the training program of your specialist medical college
  • a specialist international medical graduate (SIMG) in the specialist pathway – you must do the CPD through the accredited specialist medical college undertaking your assessment.

All CPD homes will report whether or not you complied with CPD requirements to the Board each year. You also have to make a declaration about CPD when you renew your medical registration.

Fresh lens exposes variations in experience of medical training across genders

Australia’s doctors in training report differences in their experience of medical training based on their gender, according to results of the 2023 Medical Training Survey (MTS).

MTS data shows variations in doctors’ access to research, the quality of orientation and payment for overtime between trainees, according to gender. And while serious concerns about the culture of medicine were raised by doctors in training of all genders, non-binary trainees reported the least-safe workplace.

Results of the 2023 Medical Training Survey were published in December 2023. Five years of MTS data are published in searchable form on the Medical Training Survey website, enabling comparisons across specialties, jurisdictions and gender.

A new report of 2023 data details the experiences by gender of medical trainees.

Of the more than 23,000 doctors in training who participated in the 2023 Medical Training Survey, 18,000 participants answered the question about their gender. Of these, more than 9,000 trainees identified as female, 8,000 as male and 67 as non-binary.

Trainees who identified as non-binary reported the highest rates of experiencing bullying, harassment, discrimination and/or racism. Female trainees consistently reported higher rates of experiencing bullying, harassment, and discrimination than male trainees.

Non-binary trainees reported witnessing bullying, harassment, discrimination and racism at nearly double the rate reported by both male and female trainees. There were smaller variations in reported rates of witnessing these behaviours between male and female trainees.

There is an established link between poor culture and increased risk to both patient safety and doctors’ wellbeing. The more granular report of MTS data exposes the impact of gender on doctors’ experience of medical training. With this knowledge, must come action.

Read more in the news item.

News and alerts

Title change for podiatric surgeons among 14 recommendations

A wide-ranging review found a good standard of care is provided by podiatric surgeons, although a small number of practitioners generate a higher rate of notifications than those in similar professions.

The Podiatry Board of Australia commissioned the wide-ranging independent review of the regulation of podiatric surgeons, which was led by Professor Ron Paterson.

There are only 40 podiatric surgeons with specialist registration – comprising just 0.7% of the 6,038 registered podiatrists in Australia – however they have a higher rate of complaints to Ahpra than similar professions.

Professor Paterson made 14 recommendations to strengthen the professional development and regulation of podiatric surgeons. Among them, changing the title podiatric surgeon to surgical podiatrist to enable consumers to make informed decisions when seeking specialist advice about foot and ankle surgery.

The Podiatry Board has accepted all recommendations and will seek health ministers’ approval to change the title of podiatric surgeons so patients are better informed of their skills and qualifications.

Other recommendations include requiring all podiatric surgeons to hold an endorsement for scheduled medicines, and revamping CPD requirements for this specialist group to closely align with CPD requirements for medical practitioners.

The final report from the Independent review of the regulation of podiatric surgeons in Australia is available on the Podiatry Board’s website.

Partnership boosts reforms to eliminate racism in healthcare

Ahpra has taken a major step in its role to protect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples from racism in healthcare.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have the right to access and work in healthcare that is culturally safe and free from racism.

Ahpra’s new partnership with Weenthunga Health Network aims to co-design and develop nationally consistent standards, codes and guidelines for registered practitioners on cultural safety.

Ahpra’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Strategy Unit (HSU) is supporting the Cultural Safety Accreditation and Continuing Professional Development (ACPD) Working Group and Weenthunga Health Network on this important work.

The Cultural Safety Accreditation and Continuing Professional Development Framework and Strategy is a multi-year project, grounded by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of being, knowing and doing.

Establishing it is a critical priority in the National Scheme’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Cultural Safety Strategy 2020-2025 (the Strategy).

Embedding cultural safety in accreditation and continuing professional development requirements for all 16 regulated health professions will ensure consistency and accountability to protect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and health workers.

This substantial framework to eliminate interpersonal, systemic and institutional racism in healthcare is led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples who have lived and living experience of the impacts of the colonial state and racism.

The national Cultural Safety ACPD Strategy and Framework aims to protect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples by eliminating racism from the health system by:

  • reinforcing that cultural safety is determined by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, families and communities stated in practitioners’ codes of conduct
  • reinforcing that culturally safe practice is the ongoing critical reflection of health practitioner knowledge, skills, attitudes, practising behaviours and power differentials in delivering safe, accessible and responsive healthcare free of racism
  • requiring compulsory, consistent, integrated core training and education on cultural safety for registered health practitioners throughout their career
  • embedding cultural safety in education curriculum, and as a requirement for workplace and regulatory standards
  • providing a set of core standards and competencies which can be adapted to any profession or location.

Telehealth: the new normal – a Medical Council of NSW podcast

Health leaders discuss telehealth and patient care in a new podcast. Host Dr Penelope Elix is joined by Medical Board Chair, Dr Anne Tonkin AO and Avant’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Michael Wright.

The podcast is available on Megaphone.

Medical regulation at work

Latest tribunal decisions published

There are important lessons in tribunal decisions about registered medical practitioners. The Medical Board of Australia refers the most serious concerns about medical practitioners to tribunals in each state and territory. Here are the recently published decisions:

  • a Queensland doctor has been disqualified from applying for registration for two years for having an inappropriate relationship with a patient (Medical Board of Australia v Grajn)
  • a Victorian GP has been reprimanded and fined $12,000 for paperwork that did not comply with the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act (Medical Board of Australia v Carr).

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 Medical 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 Ahpra’s website on the How to raise a concern about a health practitioner page.

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 AO, 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.

Comments on the Board newsletter are welcome, send your feedback and suggestions to [email protected].

For registration enquiries or contact detail changes, call the Ahpra customer service team on 1300 419 495 (from within Australia).

Page reviewed 30/04/2024