The Australian public is entitled to receive good quality information about their healthcare services. Health practitioners, as trusted professionals, have regulatory obligations when advertising a regulated health service. These requirements are summarised below and do not replace the Guidelines for advertising regulated health services which should be read in full.
Download a PDF of the National Law: Summary of advertising obligations (126 KB,PDF)
Any person or business advertising a regulated health service1 must comply with the National Law2 and the guidelines, as well as other legislation.
The Guidelines for advertising regulated health services explain in more detail the legal obligations about advertising under the National Law. More information about other legislation is on AHPRA’s website.
Advertising about regulated health services is the responsibility of the advertiser.
All advertisers, including registered health practitioners, are responsible for all advertising within their control. If a practitioner publishes content copied from another website, or requests a marketing agency or third party to draft it for them, they are still responsible. If a practitioner is the principal health practitioner of a clinic, they are considered responsible for the clinic’s advertising including the associated website.
Advertising is a professional conduct issue, which means if a registered health practitioner is non-compliant in their advertising they may be subject to disciplinary action.
Breaking the advertising rules in the National Law is an offence that can be prosecuted and is also a professional conduct issue for which National Boards can take disciplinary action. If a registered health practitioner is found to have non-compliant advertising, a National Board can impose conditions limiting what can be said in their advertising.
Advertising is actions by people or businesses to draw attention to their services. The ways people and businesses can promote services are almost limitless and include all forms of printed and electronic media.
The focus is on the promotional quality of advertising, it also includes situations in which registered health practitioners give information for media reports, magazine articles or advertorials, including where they make comment or provide information on particular products or services, or about other health practitioners.
1 A service provided by, or usually provided by, a health practitioner as defined by the National Law.
2 The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory (the National Law).