26 Feb 2019
The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 (Qld) (the Bill) has now been passed by the Queensland Parliament. The amendments include revisions to the mandatory reporting requirements for treating practitioners and an extension of sanctions for statutory offences.
The changes to the National Law1 intend to support registered practitioners to seek help for a health issue (including mental health issues). They will also increase the penalties (including the introduction of custodial sentences) for offences under the National Law.
Martin Fletcher AHPRA CEO noted that the changes deal with issues which have been the subject of much debate by both practitioners and the public.
‘Mandatory reporting is a very important part of the regulatory tool kit that helps keep patients safe. It has made sure regulators can act quickly to manage risk to the public.
‘Misunderstanding exists about what mandatory reporting means and what it requires practitioners to do. We will be seeking to work closely with the professions in planning and implementing an awareness campaign designed to inform practitioners about mandatory reporting and encouraging practitioners to seek help when they need it,’ he said.
Mr Fletcher also highlighted the importance of the National Law penalties that reflect the seriousness of people holding themselves out as being a registered health practitioner, when they are not.
‘We welcome the strengthening of sanctions for offences, which is great news for patients. Claiming to be a registered health practitioner when you are not is a serious betrayal of trust.’
AHPRA and National Boards will now work to implement these amendments over the coming year. This will require working closely with professional bodies, employers and state and territory health departments to help spread the message that practitioners should be supported to seek help about their health issues.
The passing of the Bill in Queensland marks the second set of legislative amendments to the National Law since the start of the National Scheme2 in 2010.
When commenced, the amendments will apply in all states and territories except Western Australia, where mandatory reporting requirements will not change.
1. The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory.
2. National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (the National Scheme).