When someone raises a concern with us, we call that a notification.
Safe, professional responses by practitioners and their workplaces help us to keep future patients safe. Safe, professional practitioners, engaged by safe, responsive health services, benefit all patients and the broader community. The types of actions taken change as the risk changes.
Serious departure from accepted standards
Comply with regulatory and organisational requirements to respond to risk.
Recognise, reflect and respond to risks in own practice.
Give priority to obligations for patient safety.
Initiate and actively participate in risk management within the practice / organisation.
Change or limit practice, update knowledge or skills according to risk.
Engage with peers for support and assistance.
Notify regulator about serious concerns or those that extend beyond, or can not be managed by, the practice / health service.
Require supervision, training, re-credentialing.
Performance management and disciplinary processes.
Monitor, analyse and respond to indicators of increasing practitioner risk.
Refer to tribunal for possible professional misconduct.
Take interim action where necessary to manage serious risk or in the public interest.
Monitor compliance with regulatory conditions.
Refer to police or other agencies where necessary.
Take regulatory action targeted to unmanaged risk — conditions, restrictions undertakings.
Make findings for unsatisfactory performance or conduct.
Respond to increasing concerns or risk
Respond to adverse events, error, quality concerns
Recognise, reflect and respond to adverse events, errors and near misses.
Respond with openness and priority for patient safety.
Participate in open disclosure and adverse event reporting.
Initiate and participate in quality activities.
Act to improve practice and minimise risk of recurrence.
Reflect on and respond to patient complaints.
Monitor, respond to and report complications, adverse events, complaints.
Take actions to respond to risks and support safety.
Supervision and peer review.
Education, policy development, system changes.
Ensure culture and team support for quality and safety.
Protections and supports for patients who are more vulnerable than most.
Processes that invite and respond to patient or carer complaints.
Take account of individual practitioner and organisational actions to manage risk.
Prompt and suggest practitioners respond to poorly managed risk, gaps in professionalism or quality of practice.
Refer relevant concerns to health complaints entity.
Refer system concerns to health service or system regulator.
Analyse regulatory data to identify clusters of risk and share with others who can respond.
Promote safe professional practice and manage inherent risks
Maintain professional knowledge and skills.
Practice within scope and competence.
Exercise sound judgement about work undertaken vs referred on, according to knowledge and skills.
Engage with the profession.
Participate in quality activities.
Be aware of and adhere to standards.
Research and development.
Education and training.
Audit compliance with registration standards.
Standards, codes and guidelines.
Engage with and reflect community expectations for health professionals in our standards.
As a regulator, we will take action in response to a concern, when the actions of an individual practitioner and/or their workplaces are not sufficient, to ensure we can prevent the same thing happening again.
The Regulatory guide sets out how Ahpra and the National Boards manage notifications about the health, performance and conduct of practitioners under Part 8 of the National Law.
Most practitioners use notifications to think about and act on improvements they could make to their practice of their profession.
We consider this and other things when deciding what to do in response. They include:
We need to assess risks that an individual practitioner might pose. Some of the things we consider when assessing risk of the practitioner, and what we may need to do in response, include the characteristics of the:
We call concerns notifications.
There are several stages that notifications can go through but not every notification goes through all stages. In fact, most notifications are dealt with quickly at the initial assessment stage. Our goal is to identify as early as possible when a National Board may need to take regulatory action to protect future patients. We understand that finding out what will happen to a notification quickly is important to notifiers and practitioners.
We must assess every notification. This involves deciding whether we need to trigger an investigation into a practitioner or not.
The first thing we do is to confirm first that the notification relates to:
We then work through the following steps, repeating them when necessary at each stage. We try to speak directly to the notifier and practitioner early in the process (unless we have decided we cannot do this) and it is important to us that notifiers and practitioners understand:
Find more information about the different stages:
If a concern has been raised about you, you can find out more here.