03 Aug 2023
Australia’s health practitioner regulator wants to hear from the community as it begins to review the national standard that sets the bar for criminal history for our registered health practitioners.
The Criminal history registration standard (the criminal history standard) sets out what decision-makers think about when a registered health practitioner, or someone wanting to become one, has a criminal history. It helps to ensure that only people who are suitable are registered as health practitioners.
Ahpra and the National Boards are reviewing the criminal history standard to make sure it is up to date and is still relevant today. This work is part of the health practitioner regulator’s blueprint for reform to strengthen public safety in health regulation, which has a focus on sexual misconduct in healthcare.
All practitioners are required to undergo a criminal history check when they first apply for registration. They must also declare any change when they annually renew their registration.
In 2021/22, Ahpra and the National Boards received 75,543 domestic and international criminal history checks of practitioners and/or applicants, with only a few results serious enough to affect a practitioner’s registration. Of those, 15 applicants were granted registration with restrictions, while six had their application refused.
‘Our priority has always been to protect the public and make healthcare safer. This review, as part of our greater reform of our approach to sexual boundary notifications, is an important opportunity to ensure healthcare is safe for patients and in-line with community expectations,’ Ahpra CEO Martin Fletcher said.
‘We look forward to hearing from patients, the public, practitioners and anyone who wants to share their feedback on the standard, to inform future proposals for change.’
We are consulting on explaining how the principles apply in action, for example, whether it would be helpful to group into categories according to seriousness.
Feedback is sought on the current version of the criminal history standard and we are also seeking comments on the future direction for other focus areas of our work to improve public safety in health regulation, including:
This consultation will help inform our approach and ensure we have heard a range of views before a revised criminal history standard is developed and another opportunity is provided for stakeholders to comment (phase two of the review).
More information about the review and how to make a submission during this first consultation phase is available on the Consultations page.
Feedback to this consultation is now open and closes on 29 September 2023.