14 Dec 2020
Revised advertising guidelines to support responsible advertising, including by registered health practitioners, are in effect from today.
The National Boards and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) have jointly revised the Guidelines for advertising a regulated health service (the guidelines) and the Advertising compliance and enforcement strategy for the National Scheme (the strategy).
Advance copies of the guidelines and strategy were published on 17 November so the public, practitioners and other advertisers had an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the new information and, if they advertise a regulated health service, to ensure their advertising complies with the National Law requirements.
‘The guidelines aim to help explain the advertising requirements in the National Law1 and to help advertisers, including health practitioners, meet these requirements so they advertise responsibly,’ Ahpra CEO Martin Fletcher said.
‘Responsible advertising about regulated health services helps to keep the public safe from false or misleading claims and supports the public to make informed choices about their healthcare.’
Under the National Law, a regulated health service or a business providing a regulated health service must not advertise in a way that:
• is false, misleading or deceptive
• uses gifts, discounts or inducements without explaining the terms and conditions of the offer
• uses a testimonial or purported testimonial
• creates an unreasonable expectation of beneficial treatment, and/or
• directly or indirectly encourages the indiscriminate or unnecessary use of regulated health services.
‘Health practitioners want to do the right thing and we encourage them to use the resources and information available to help ensure their advertising complies with the National Law,’ Mr Fletcher said.
‘Unlawful advertising can negatively influence healthcare choices and involve risks to public safety. When preparing their advertising, a health practitioner should always put the public first and ensure their advertising is not false, misleading or deceptive.’
Mr Fletcher said the updated strategy set out how Ahpra and the National Boards use the regulatory tools available under the National Law to help ensure voluntary compliance with the advertising requirements and to manage non-compliance.
Ahpra has refreshed the advertising resources section on its website to create a new advertising hub to help make it easier for the public, practitioners and other advertisers to find the information they are looking for.
Information has also been updated to reflect the revised advertising guidelines. We will continue to develop information and resources to help promote awareness and understanding of the advertising requirements of the National Law.
The revised advertising guidelines and strategy are published in the advertising hub of the Ahpra website. The guidelines are also available on National Board websites.
1 The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory (the National Law).
For more information
• For media enquiries: (03) 8708 9200
• For registration enquiries: 1300 419 495 (within Australia) +61 3 9285 3010 (overseas callers)