Australia's health ministers have announced the terms of reference for the review of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme. In March 2008, when Commonwealth and state and territory governments all signed the agreement which underpins the scheme, they agreed that it should be reviewed after three years of operation. The review will be conducted independently of AHPRA and the National Boards. It will examine whether the scheme is meeting the objectives set out in the National Law and will consider benefits and costs.
There are few projects that deliver a key achievement on the day they commence. National registration for doctors, nurses and midwives, dentists, pharmacists and six other health professions became a reality from day one. Other aspects of the scheme took longer to establish and some are still developing and improving. In addition to workforce mobility, the two major objectives are to protect the public by ensuring that only practitioners who are suitably trained are registered and to facilitate access to health services in the public interest. The scheme is funded by practitioners' annual registration fees.
Accountability is one of the guiding principles in the legislation governing the scheme. We welcome this opportunity to reflect on what has been delivered, what is working well, what needs further work and whether the benefits are proportionate to the costs of the scheme.
Dr Joanna Flynn AM
Chair, Medical Board of Australia
The Medical Board is consulting on revised draft registration standards that set requirements for:
The Board has not proposed major changes and the draft standards are broadly similar to the current registration standards. The proposed changes reflect feedback from stakeholders and what we have learned from the first four years of operating the National Scheme. The language in the revised registration standards has been simplified and the standards restructured to make them clearer.
Please provide written submissions by email, marked ‘Consultation – Core registration standards’ to firstname.lastname@example.org by close of business on 30 June 2014.
In the interests of transparency, we will generally publish submissions on our website. You can read more about our consultation process here.
So we can publish your submission on our website, please attach it to your email as a Word document so we can meet international web accessibility guidelines.
Address submissions mailed by post to the Executive Officer, Medical, AHPRA, GPO Box 9958, Melbourne, VIC 3001.
The Board’s consultation paper can be found on the Current Consultations page.
It is helpful for us if you read the revised registration standards in their entirety, particularly if you are giving us feedback. We have provided brief summaries in this Update to give readers a sense of the content of the standards.
The revised registration standard does not change the current requirements for professional indemnity insurance.
If you are a registered medical practitioner who is practising, make sure that you are insured or indemnified for each context in which you practise. This applies to all practice contexts, including private and public practice, self-employed practitioners, those employed by others or working in an unpaid or volunteer capacity.
The proposed registration standard lists exemptions. These include practitioners whose practice does not include providing health care or medical opinion about the physical or mental health of any person or when a practitioner is practising exclusively overseas.
The requirements for CPD are different for different types of registration.
The revised registration standard does not change the CPD requirements for medical practitioners with general or specialist registration. It proposes to align the Board’s expectations of international medical graduates (IMGs) for CPD with its expectations of most other practitioners. Specifically, the draft standard proposes that IMGs with limited registration or provisional registration meet an equivalent CPD standard to medical practitioners with general registration.
Summary of the proposed CPD standard:
This proposed registration standard introduces a minimum number of hours of recent practice, with flexibility in how this is completed. The standard is otherwise unchanged.
The proposed registration standard requires medical practitioners to practise within their scope of practice at any time for a minimum total of:
The standard also provides information for medical practitioners with non-practising registration or who are not registered and wish to return to practice (including international medical graduates), and for medical practitioners who are changing their scope of practice.
The Board will consider all submissions and then revise the proposed standards as needed. It will then submit the proposed standards to the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council (Ministerial Council). The new standards will take effect after the Ministerial Council approves them.
The Medical Board is consulting on revised draft registration standards for:
The Board can grant limited registration to international medical graduates (IMGs) who do not hold an approved qualification for general or specialist registration. Limited registration allows IMGs to practise for specific purposes under supervision in Board-approved positions.
These registration standards set out the Board’s requirements for an initial application for, and renewal of, each type of limited registration.
The Board has not proposed major changes and the draft registration standards are broadly similar to the current registration standards. The proposed changes reflect feedback from stakeholders and what we have learned from the first four years of operating the National Scheme. The language in the revised registration standards has been simplified and the standards restructured to make them clearer.
Please provide written submissions by email, marked ‘Consultation – Limited registration standards and draft guidelines on short-term training in a medical specialty pathway’ to email@example.com by close of business on 30 June 2014.
So we can publish your submission on our website, please attach it to your email it as a Word document so we can meet international web accessibility guidelines.
Internationally qualified specialists or specialists-in-training who are not qualified for general or specialist registration can receive training in a specialty in Australia. This pathway to registration was set up as part of the 2006 Council of Australian Government initiative to establish a national assessment process for overseas-qualified doctors.
The Board has developed draft guidelines on short-term training in a medical specialty for international medical graduates who are not qualified for general or specialist registration. The draft guidelines aim to make clear:
Address submissions mailed by post to the Executive Officer, Medical, AHPRA, GPO Box 9958, Melbourne, VIC 3001.
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After receiving accreditation advice from the Australian Medical Council, the Board approved:
After receiving accreditation advice from the Australian Medical Council, the Board approved the following accredited programs of study as providing a qualification for the purpose of registration until 31 March 2020:
One of the objectives of the National Law is to facilitate the provision of high quality education and training of health practitioners. The accreditation function is the primary way of achieving this. More information is published on our Accreditation page.
Australia’s health ministers have announced the terms of reference for the scheduled review of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (the National Scheme). The review – to be led by independent reviewer, Mr Kim Snowball – was built into the intergovernmental agreement that set up the framework and governance arrangements for the National Scheme. The agreement stated that the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council (Ministerial Council) will initiate an independent review after three years of the National Scheme’s operation.
The terms of reference for the review are published at Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council website under ‘media releases’ on the right-hand tab.
The independent reviewer, Mr Snowball, has held a variety of senior leadership roles in both the public and private health sectors. He was previously the Director General of WA Health and has also served as the Chair of the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council (AHMAC).
The Board will be participating actively in the review process and will keep stakeholders informed of opportunities to provide comment and consultation timelines.
The Medical Board and other National Boards have acted on the feedback they received about the Guidelines for advertising regulated health services (Advertising guidelines) released in March, and published updated versions on their websites.
The guidelines were edited to make them clearer, particularly that:
For more information and a link to the guidelines, visit the News page on our website.
On 14 February 2014, the South Australian Deputy State Coroner (DSC) delivered her findings into the deaths of John William Ryan and Patricia Dawn Walton. The DSC found that:
The findings are available on the Courts Administration Authority of South Australia website.
The DSC made a number of recommendations, including the following that are directed at the Board and medical practitioners:
The Board has issued guidance in Good medical practice on how to manage conflicts of interest and financial and commercial dealings at 8.11 and 8.12 respectively. View the document on the Code of conduct page.
AHPRA on behalf of the 14 National Boards publishes a record of panel, court and tribunal decisions about registered health practitioners. Summaries are published when there is clinical and educational value.
Under the National Law, the Board must refer a matter about a registered medical practitioner or student to a tribunal if the Board reasonably believes that the practitioner has behaved in a way that constitutes professional misconduct; or the practitioner’s registration was improperly obtained because the Board was given false or misleading information. The Board must also refer the matter to a tribunal if a panel established by the Board requires the Board to do so.
Medical practitioners may also appeal certain decisions of the Board to a tribunal, or court.
AHPRA publishes summaries of selected tribunal or court cases from time to time. These can be sourced at Publications>Tribunal decisions on the AHPRA website. A full library of published hearing decisions from tribunals or courts relating to complaints and notifications made about health practitioners or students is available on the Austlii website.
When investigating a notification, state and territory committees of the Medical Board of Australia 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. Summaries have been provided when there is educational and clinical value. These summaries are accessible from hyperlinks within the table. Practitioners' names are not published, consistent with the requirements of the National Law. This table does not include summaries of panel decisions made under previous legislation, even if these were held after July 2010.
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).