What to expect

If you are a registered health practitioner and a concern has been raised about your health, conduct or performance, we have information that can help you understand what to expect, including:

  • the role of National Boards and Ahpra in managing concerns
  • the notifications process, and
  • possible outcomes.

If a concern has been raised about you, we will arrange a time to talk to you to describe the concerns, explains what will happen next and what you can expect. We will follow this up in writing. 

We understand that having a concern raised about you can be very stressful. To help you, we have produced a video we would encourage you to watch as a first step. We also have other useful information published on our website and there is a list of support services and details of where you can find further information.

How we manage concerns 

We are committed to ensuring that the management of the notification is completed in a timely manner, taking into account the complexities of individual matters. 

Every concern we receive is assessed for potential risk to the public by both Ahpra and an appropriate committee appointed by the National Boards. We take seriously all concerns raised with us. They are managed sensitively and in accordance with our legal obligations, including confidentiality, privacy and natural justice principles. Learn more about how we manage concerns.

Together Ahpra and the relevant National Board

  • Receive and understand a concern about a practitioner, including speaking to the notifier
  • Review information we hold about the practitioner, including regulatory history and assess the risk
  • Speak directly to the practitioner to gather information about their practice setting and context
  • Validate any steps taken by the practitioner and/or their workplace to manage any risk to the public
  • Take regulatory action when practitioner risk is not sufficiently managed by individual and/or organisation risk controls

The National Board can do a number of things in response to a concern. If they identify that a practitioner poses a serious risk, there are immediate actions that the National Boards can take.

Further information on possible outcomes.

Ahpra and National Boards are committed to ensuring that the management of the notification is completed in a timely manner, taking into account the complexities of individual matters. You can help with this by:

  • engaging the supports you need early and throughout the process, including indemnifiers and/or professional associations and colleges
  • providing Ahpra with the information we need as early as possible, and
  • giving your employer permission to share information about you with Ahpra to help validate what you have told us. 

We also know that most practitioners manage risk over their careers. 

When a concern is raised with us, we need to understand how you have responded to the event that triggered the concern. This includes actions you have taken after reflection to reduce the likelihood of future risk. This is done when you:

  • recognise and assesses the risk effectively
  • respond promptly, in the best interests of the patient
  • accept accountability
  • refer to or engages others in responding as appropriate
  • declare and share information about what has happened
  • initiate and actively participate in adverse event reporting and responses
  • actively reflect, reviews and updates knowledge and skills
  • articulate how they will respond effectively in similar circumstances in the future, and
  • can clearly describe action to modify or restrict own practice. 

Yes. We will speak to you at different stages (unless we have decided we cannot do this) as we manage the concern so that it is clear: 

  • what supports are available throughout the process
  • what is going to happen when
  • what can be expected from the processes
  • how long something will take
  • what they may need to do and why, and
  • why a National Board makes the decision that it does. 

Sometimes, Ahpra is not able to contact you at this stage if it is considered doing so would:

  • prejudice an investigation 
  • place a person’s safety at risk, or 
  • place a person at risk of intimidation.

Our preference is to gather information we need by discussing things with you, and then follow up in writing. This saves us time and allows us to resolve the concern sooner. 

Our priority in managing a concern is to speak directly to you, to gather information about your practice, as well as your reflections and actions in response to the events identified in the notification. 

For some investigations we will do this at a case discussion with you. This is a formal, non-compulsory discussion. Following this discussion, the Ahpra officer will ask for follow up information to confirm the actions. This may include speaking to your workplace to gather information. 

We encourage you participate in these discussions. You can have representation there. This may be from your indemnifier and/or professional association. The Ahpra officer will explain this in more detail and provide you and your representative with an information beforehand. 

There may be times when an Ahpra officer gathers information from you and others using the powers available under the National Law. These are compulsory and there are potential consequences if you do not comply with requests made this way. Further information is available under investigations.

 

Organisations where registered health practitioners work also manage risks at the front line of care delivery. They are instrumental in investigating and responding to risk in the workplace. Workplaces that do this well:

  • have strong clinical governance, policies and procedures in place and they review these often
  • investigate and review the incident
  • restrict practice where appropriate by:
    • scope or activities
    • supervision of others, and/or
    • vulnerable patients
  • provide education and training to improve performance
  • assess or re-credential practitioners where relevant
  • supervise the practitioner
  • respond to adverse events and supporting quality and safety, and
  • notify Ahpra when there are ongoing concerns about the practitioner and when mandatory notifications are required. 

During an investigation we will usually contact your workplace(s) to gather information about: 

  • how serious the workplace’s concerns are
  • what they have already done to manage risk for this practitioner and how successful it has been, and
  • any other information or evidence needed for the National Board to decide. 

This may be done through formal, non-compulsory discussions or using the powers available to Ahpra and the National Boards under the National Law. Further information is available under investigations

 
 
 
 
Page reviewed 26/11/2020