Professional Performance Framework

The community in Australia has high levels of trust in doctors and expects medical practitioners to provide safe care to patients. The Medical Board of Australia has designed a Professional Performance Framework to ensure that all registered medical practitioners practise competently and ethically throughout their working lives.

The Professional Performance Framework will support doctors to take responsibility for their own performance and encourage the profession collectively to raise professional standards and build a positive, respectful culture in medicine that benefits patients and doctors.

Five pillars of the Professional Performance Framework

There are five pillars to the professional performance framework. In brief, they are:

  1. Strengthened Continuing Professional Development
    All doctors will:
    • have a CPD home and participate in its CPD program 
    • do CPD that is relevant to their scope of practice
    • base their CPD on a personal professional development plan
    • do at least 50 hours of CPD per year, that includes a mix of:
      • reviewing performance
      • measuring outcomes, and
      • educational activities.
  2. Active assurance of safe practice
    • The Board will:
      • identify risks to patient safety and define the principles for screening those at risk, and
      • identify practitioners at risk of poor performance and managing that risk.
    • Increasing age is a known risk factor for poor performance. The Board is proposing
      • to require practitioners who provide clinical care to have peer review and health checks at the age of 70 and three yearly thereafter, and
      • the outcome of health checks and peer reviews is not reported to the Board unless there is serious risk to patients.
    • Professional isolation is a known risk factor. The Board is proposing:
      • to develop guidance to help practitioners identify the hallmarks of professional isolation and manage the risk, and
      • to require professionally isolated doctors to do more CPD that involves peer review.
    • The Board expects that the vast majority of doctors with identified risk factors will demonstrate their ability to provide safe care to patients and remain in active clinical practice.
  3. Strengthened assessment and management of medical practitioners with multiple substantiated complaints
    • The Board will require practitioners with multiple substantiated complaints to participate in formal peer review of performance.
  4. Guidance to support practitioners
    • The Board will continue to develop and publish clear, relevant and contemporary professional standards to support good medical practice, including to: 
      • revise Good medical practice: A code of conduct for doctors in Australia
      • refine existing and develop new registration standards, and
      • issue other guidance as required.
  5. Collaborations to foster a positive culture of medicine 
    • Promote a culture of medicine that is focused on patient safety.
    • Work in partnership with the profession to reshape the culture of medicine and build a culture of respect.
    • Encourage doctors to:
      • commit to reflective practice and lifelong learning
      • take care of their own health and wellbeing, and
      • support their colleagues.
    • Urge governments and other holders of large data to make it accessible to individual practitioners to support practice improvements.

Download the Board’s Professional performance framework

Download a copy of the five pillars of the professional performance framework

Implementation of the Professional Performance Framework

The Board’s Professional Performance Framework is evidence-based, integrated and builds on existing initiatives. It will be implemented progressively, with some elements already in place or only requiring fine tuning, and others requiring significant planning, consultation and development.

The Board is committed to working in partnership with the medical profession and others in the health sector to implement the Professional Performance Framework. It is also committed to ongoing consultation about the various elements.

The Board held a workshop in February 2018 to discuss implementation of the Framework with stakeholders. Read the report of the workshop:

To implement the Professional Performance Framework, the Board will:

  • Consult on and propose to Australia’s Health Ministers a revised registration standard for continuing professional development.
  • Consult on and propose to Australia’s Health Ministers a new health related registration standard to provide assurance that doctors can continue to provide safe care to patients throughout their working lives.

  • Strengthen its assessment and management of notifications to better manage medical practitioners subject to multiple substantiated complaints.

  • Work with stakeholders to develop and implement models for peer review of performance.

  • Commission clinical advice on what constitutes a practical and effective health check for doctors aged 70 years and over.

  • Commission ongoing research and evaluation to ensure this work is effective, evidence based and fair.

  • Foster partnerships and collaborations to promote a positive culture of medicine that is focused on patient safety, based on respect and encourages doctors to take care of their own health and well-being.

The final report of the Expert Advisory Group on revalidation

The Board appointed an Expert Advisory Group in December 2015 to provide it with expert advice about approaches to support medical practitioners to maintain and enhance their professional skills and knowledge and remain fit to practise medicine. It used the term ‘revalidation’ for this process.

The EAG, chaired by Professor Elizabeth Farmer, delivered its final report to the Board in August 2017. The Board has accepted the evidence provided by the EAG and its recommendations, including to not adopt the term ‘revalidation’ as this does not accurately describe the Board’s approach. The Professional Performance Framework is the Board’s response to the EAG final report.

The EAG’s recommendations are designed to improve public safety. They recommend an integrated approach that will help improve public safety and better identify and manage risk in the Australian healthcare setting by:

  • maintaining and enhancing the performance of all doctors practising in Australia through efficient, effective, contemporary, evidence-based CPD relevant to their scope of practice, and 
  • proactively identifying doctors who are either performing poorly or are at risk of performing poorly, assessing their performance and if necessary, supporting their remediation. The EAG identified that age, professional isolation and multiple complaints are all risk factors for poor performance.

Download the EAG final report:

Contact the Board

Questions or comments about the professional performance framework can be sent to:

Read the details of the approach

Document name PDF Accessible format

Building a Professional performance framework


Word version 

Pillars of the Professional Performance Framework


 Word version

Final Report of the Expert Advisory Group on revalidation


 Word version

Media statement: New Professional Performance Framework for patient safety


 Web page

Read previous documents and the supporting evidence:

Document name PDF Accessible format

Full interim report of the expert advisory group on revalidation

 PDF (1.57MB)

 Word version

Executive summary of the interim report

 PDF (203KB)

 Word version

Discussion paper about the proposed approach for revalidation

 PDF (227KB)

 Word version

Media statement: Medical Board consults on revalidation in Australia 16 August 2017

 PDF (256KB)

 Web page

Expert Advisory Group on revalidation terms of reference

 PDF (219KB)

 Word version

Consultative Committee on revalidation terms of reference

 PDF (215KB)

 Word version

Medical Practitioners' ongoing fitness and competence to practise: A report of social research into community and doctors’ views about trust, confidence and fitness to practise in the medical profession

 PDF (1.47MB)

 Word version

International research from the Collaboration for the Advancement of Medical Education Research and Assessment (CAMERA) The evidence and options for medical revalidation in the Australian context, published 2015

 PDF (1.65MB)

 Word version

Page reviewed 26/04/2018