31 Dec 2015
If you employ registered health practitioners, you have an important obligation to ensure that they hold current registration and that you understand your mandatory notification requirements under the National Law1.
There are resources available to help you understand and meet your obligations, which are designed to complement your recruitment requirements and processes. These materials state exactly what your obligations are and it is important that you are familiar with them.
Before employing a health practitioner, always check the register
It’s your job as an employer to check the practitioner is registered when you employ them. Before you offer someone a job, make sure they are registered.
The online register of practitioners has accurate, up-to-date information about the registration status of all registered health practitioners in Australia.
If the practitioner's name appears on the register, they are registered and can practise within the scope of their registration in accordance with any conditions or undertakings that apply. This is even the case when their registration expiry date may have passed, as long as they appear on the register.
When registered, a practitioner appears on the online register the same day. There is no gap between being granted registration and appearing on the online register.
If a practitioner’s name does not appear on the register, they are not registered to practise in Australia2.
The online register is the only accurate and up-to-date source of information on someone’s registration – you should not rely on a hardcopy or printout of a register entry, or a certificate of registration.
If you have any questions, contact AHPRA on 1300 419 495.
Once they are employed, you need to stay up to date with any changes to their registration
You should ensure your health practitioner employees are registered and practising within any restrictions on their registration that might apply.
All registered health practitioners are required to renew their registration on an annual basis.
In addition, restrictions can be placed on the registration of a practitioner to protect the public. Conditions can be placed on a practitioner’s registration for disciplinary reasons; for example because a National Board has found that a practitioner has departed from accepted professional standards. Conditions can also be placed on a practitioner’s registration for reasons that are not disciplinary, such as for a practitioner who is returning to practice after a break.
Information about any restrictions are published on the online register in most circumstances3. The registration details of registered health practitioners in Australia are available on the online register of practitioners.
If you need to check the registration status of many practitioners at once, there are tools to help you, including a free bulk check service (up to 50,000 practitioners at a time) and the Practitioner Information Exchange. The Practitioner Information Exchange allows employers to create alerts when an employee’s registration status changes.
During their employment you must make sure you meet your mandatory notification obligations
If you, as an employer, believe a practitioner might pose a risk to the public because of their behaviour or health, you may have a legal obligation to report it.
This is true even if you have taken other steps to prevent it happening again (such as through performance managing the practitioner) or the practitioner leaves the job.
Notifiable conduct is when a practitioner has:
- practised the profession while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs
- engaged in sexual misconduct in connection with their profession
- placed the public at risk of substantial harm because they have an impairment, or
- placed the public at risk of harm because of a significant departure from professional standards4,5.
If you fail to make a mandatory notification about notifiable conduct, AHPRA has a legal obligation to advise your state or territory health minister.
Download a PDF of this Media release - Know your obligations when employing health practitioners - 31 December 2015 (159 KB,PDF)
1 Under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory (National Law).
2 In a very small number of cases, the details of a registered health practitioner may not appear on the register because of personal safety issues. If you have any questions, contact AHPRA on 1300 419 495.
3 There may also be conditions related to a practitioner’s health (such as psychiatric care or drug screening). The details of health conditions are not usually published on the register of practitioners.
4 If you are a treating practitioner in WA, you don’t need to make a mandatory notification about registered health practitioners (or students) who are your patients/clients. However, all registered practitioners have a professional obligation to comply with professional and ethical standards set down by their National Board.
5 In Queensland notifications are made to the Office of the Health Ombudsman. In NSW, notifications are made to the Health Care Complaints Commission.