Medical Board of Australia - August 2021

August 2021

Update Medical Board of Australia


Chair’s message

We’re making changes to continuing professional development (CPD). From 2023, we want to make sure the time doctors spend on their learning helps them keep their professional edge. For many doctors, CPD won’t feel very different in 18 months, because specialist colleges’ CPD programs are already broadly aligning with the new requirements. The three main changes are the introduction of CPD homes and professional development plans (PDPs) for all doctors, and requiring doctors to do different types of CPD to improve the value of their professional development. There’s no change to the amount of time most doctors will spend on CPD, but we are changing the spread of CPD so it includes more learning that the evidence shows strengthens practice. Specialist colleges will continue as CPD homes, and all new CPD homes will be accredited by the Australian Medical Council (AMC).

All doctors will make a PDP, when they think about their strengths and weaknesses, and map out learning that will help them keep their practice strong. The Board won’t see the plan and isn’t specifying what it looks like and what should be in it. CPD homes will provide support for their members in planning their CPD and doing high quality CPD activities. We would like every doctor to have the opportunity to get the best value from the time they spend on CPD.

Dr Anne Tonkin
Chair, Medical Board of Australia

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Medical Board of Australia news

2021 Medical Training Survey

The Medical Training Survey is now open

The 2021 Medical Training Survey (MTS) is now open, giving trainees the chance to make their voice heard on their medical training.

MTS data from past years is already being used across the health sector to drive improvements in medical training.

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. The 2021 MTS again includes questions about the impact of COVID-19 on training.

The MTS is a longitudinal study that tracks the quality of medical training. Stringent privacy controls make it safe and confidential for trainees to take part. The Medical Board of Australia runs the MTS but does not have access to any individual responses.

Doctors in training around Australia are spreading the word about the MTS. Watch doctors in training promoting the MTS.

Doctors in training, specialist medical colleges, postgraduate medical councils, the Australian Medical Association, the Australian Medical Council, the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association, Doctors’ Health Services and employers have helped keep the 2021 questions relevant.

Results from past surveys are available online on the MTS website. Results are detailed in reports by specialty and geography, or accessible via the online data-dashboard that enables users to create their own tailored reports.

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 healthcare.

All doctors in training in Australia can do the survey. This includes interns, hospital medical officers, resident medical officers, non-accredited trainees, postgraduate trainees, principal house officers, registrars, specialist trainees and international medical graduates (with provisional or limited registration). Career medical officers who intend to do further postgraduate training in medicine can also participate.

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2021 registration renewal

Renew your registration online now

You can apply online now to renew your medical registration (general, specialist and non-practising registration) for another year. If you have provided Ahpra with your email address, we have emailed your first reminder to renew.

The 2021/22 registration fee for medical practitioners is $835. The fee schedule is available on the fees page.

A video and tips for renewing online are available for medical practitioners on the registration renewal page.

Doctors in training with general registration can do the Medical Training Survey (MTS) when they renew. Follow the MTS survey link after the workforce survey.

2021 CPD

When you renew your registration in 2021, we ask if you have met the CPD registration standard for the preceding registration year (1 October 2020 to 30 September 2021). The Board created flexibility for anyone who couldn’t complete all their CPD in the 2020 year because of COVID-19 impacts, and will not take regulatory action if practitioners have been unable to meet their CPD requirements during 2020. You can learn more about the Board’s approach on the renewal page.

Exposure-prone procedures

There is a new question on the renewal form this year that applies to doctors who perform exposure-prone procedures (EPP). The question asks these doctors if they comply with the Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA) guidelines, which require them to know their blood-borne virus (BBV) status and be tested every three years.

This question does not apply to most doctors because most do not perform EPPs.

There is a list of EPPs available on the Department of Health website. EPPs are defined as:

Procedures where there is a risk of injury to the healthcare worker resulting in exposure of the patient’s open tissues to the blood of the healthcare worker. These procedures include those where the healthcare worker’s hands (whether gloved or not) may be in contact with sharp instruments, needle tips or sharp tissues (spicules of bone or teeth) inside a patient’s open body cavity, wound or confined anatomical space where the hands or fingertips may not be completely visible at all times.

Outside of surgical, obstetric and gynaecological and perhaps emergency medicine practice, few medical practitioners are likely to be performing EPPs.

The Board does NOT want to see BBV test results and will NOT have access to them. The question asks if doctors who perform EPPs have and will continue to comply with the CDNA guidelines.

The Board’s Guidelines: Registered health practitioners and students in relation to blood-borne viruses are on the Medical Board website.

Registration renewal due dates

Registration renewal for medical practitioners with general, specialist and non-practising registration is due by 30 September 2021. A late payment fee is due on renewal applications received in October.

If you do not apply to renew your registration by the end of October, your name will be removed from the register of medical practitioners. Your registration will lapse and you will not be able to practise medicine in Australia. A ‘fast-track’ application can be made, but you cannot practise until it is processed and the national register is updated. This can take time and will affect your ability to practise medicine.

Download your registration certificate and tax invoice

Your registration details will be updated on the online register of practitioners when your renewal application is finalised. The online register is updated every day and is the safest and most timely way to check a practitioner’s registration details.

If you need a copy of your registration certificate or to access your renewal tax invoice, you can print them from the Ahpra online portal after your renewal has been finalised.

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Continuing professional development

CPD changing from 2023

Changes to continuing professional development (CPD) that will increase the value of doctors’ life-long learning will start in January 2023. The CPD changes are part of the Board’s Professional Performance Framework.

There are three core changes to CPD:

  1. the introduction of CPD homes
  2. the introduction of professional development plans (PDPs) for all doctors, and
  3. requiring doctors to do different types of CPD to improve the value of their professional development.

The changes are included in an updated Medical Board of Australia continuing professional development registration standard.

Practising registered medical practitioners already do regular CPD that is relevant to their scope of practice and most already do 50 hours of CPD each year.

The Board’s goal is to make sure the time doctors spend on CPD is useful and helps keep them practising at their best throughout their working lives. The changes will assure that doctors are engaging in learning that is relevant, effective and evidence based.

CPD homes

Introducing accredited CPD homes for all doctors will improve consistency in learning, structure, standards and educational value for doctors with all types of registration.

Specialist colleges will be CPD homes. Colleges have been moving their CPD programs towards these changes over recent years, because they reflect contemporary best practice and make CPD more valuable to doctors and their patients.

Other organisations can also apply to become a CPD home. Any new CPD homes will be accredited by the Australian Medical Council.

Types of CPD

Under the changes, doctors will do 50 hours of CPD each year, made up of:

  • 25 hours of reviewing performance and measuring outcomes (doctors decide the best mix for these activities to suit their practice, with five hours minimum of each type)
  • 12.5 hours traditional learning or educational activities – reading, lectures, conferences
  • 12.5 hours – doctors choose from the three types of CPD.
Professional development plans

All doctors will need to make a professional development plan (PDP) each year that targets their professional development to their learning goals and strengthens their practice. The Board is not specifying what a PDP looks like or what should be in it.

The value of a plan lies in the thinking each doctor puts into their professional development and learning needs. The Board expects that developing a plan will help doctors think about their strengths and weaknesses and map out learning that will help them keep their professional edge.

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Quarterly registration data

Latest registration data published

The Board publishes data each quarter on the medical profession. Data are broken down by state and territory, registration type and for specialists, by specialty and field of specialty practice. The latest data are available on our website under Statistics on the News page.

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News and alerts

New-look public register

Ahpra has launched a new-look public register with enhanced search capabilities. The register includes every registered health practitioner in Australia. Anyone, including practitioners, patients and employers can use it to check if a practitioner is registered, their type of registration and any conditions limiting their practice.

The search function now includes predictive text and phonetic searching for names, in case you’re not sure about the spelling. You can also search for a type of practitioner in a location and filter searches by gender and languages spoken.

There is a video and ‘Help and tips’ for using the register. This is part of Ahpra’s ongoing work to improve access to the public register. There is also a pop-up survey box on the register page for you to give us feedback.

New independent accreditation committee established

A new independent accreditation committee has been established by Ahpra following Health Ministers’ policy direction issued earlier this year and as a key element of Health Ministers’ response to the Independent Review of Accreditation Systems Final Report. The committee will provide independent and expert advice on accreditation reform issues.

Professor Andrew Wilson has been appointed Independent Chair and the committee members have been drawn from categories identified by Health Ministers. They bring a broad range of perspectives and expertise. Four of the 15 members are medical practitioners.

More information and the committee’s terms of reference and membership are published on the Ahpra website.

New podcast episodes – women in surgery and rural students

Ahpra releases fortnightly episodes of the Taking care podcast, discussing current topics and the latest issues affecting safe healthcare in Australia. You can access these on the Ahpra website or listen and subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and by searching ‘Taking care’ in your podcast player. Latest episodes:

  • in a two-part podcast, Meeting women in surgery, four female surgeons discuss the challenges, rewards and barriers
  • in Rural healthcare: the student perspective, two medical students and a podiatry student discuss the unique nature of healthcare and healthcare delivery in rural and remote settings.

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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 reprimanded a medical practitioner and imposed conditions on his registration for inappropriate prescribing of testosterone and growth hormone-related peptides (Medical Board of Australia v Marzola)
  • the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has cancelled a general practitioner’s registration and permanently stopped him from providing any health service, after he performed an internal examination without adequate explanation or informed consent from the patient (Medical Board of Australia v Moschou)
  • the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has suspended a general practitioner for professional misconduct after he was convicted of sexually assaulting a friend after a night of heavy drinking (Medical Board of Australia v Arulanandarajah).

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 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 23/06/2022