December 2018

In this edition:

Welcome from the CEO

Welcome to our summer issue of AHPRA Report, which highlights the work of both AHPRA and the National Boards. You can read highlights of the past year in our Annual Report 2017/18, including a broad range of data on our work. We use these data to learn, collaborate with partners and improve the way we work to promote patient safety. The report provides a unique insight into our performance as a regulator as well as the registered health practitioner workforce across Australia.

It’s been very big year for AHPRA with the paramedicine profession joining the National Scheme, the first time paramedics have been regulated and registered nationally. After a great deal of preparatory work with the inaugural Paramedicine Board of Australia, and a major communications campaign to paramedics, regulation began on schedule on 1 December 2018. Since registration opened in September over 16,000 paramedics have applied to be registered.

As a crucial part of our developing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health strategy, we launched the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme Statement of Intent in July. The statement is signed by 37 health entities, including leading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health organisations and entities working to implement Australia’s regulation scheme for health practitioners; AHPRA, all National Boards and all accreditation authorities. We share a commitment to ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have access to health services that are culturally safe and free from racism so that they can enjoy a healthy life, equal to that of other Australians, enriched by a strong living culture, dignity and justice.

We’ve also seen big changes to the membership of National Boards, with the departure of many inaugural chairs and members after nine years of dedicated service. In November, Health Ministers announced the appointments and reappointments of National Board Chairs, practitioner members and community members to fill vacancies arising across 13 National Boards. It’s a pleasure to welcome these new members, and the six incoming Chairs who shared their thoughts on their new roles in this AHPRA Report.

You’ll find more about these topics and many others in this newsletter, and we welcome your feedback on our activities.

Thank you for your support for our work over the past year and we send our best wishes for this holiday season.

Martin Fletcher
Martin.Fletcher@ahpra.gov.au

Welcome from the CEO.

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What’s new?

Annual report for 2017/18

Being uniquely placed to collect information about Australia’s registered health practitioner workforce, we are proud to be able to share our annual report. The report includes information about the different registered health professions and an overall view of the registered health practitioner workforce in Australia.

In 2017/18:

  • the number of registered health practitioners continued to grow – reaching over 700,000, as did the number of students studying approved courses, and the number of notifications (complaints or concerns) made and resolved. The Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander participation across the regulated health professions was 0.7 per cent. While this has increased, it is still well short of a 2.8 per cent representation in the general population.

The report also includes data about our regulatory activities, including investigations and prosecutions, and our performance in delivering the National Scheme. For example,

  • AHPRA monitored 2,752 practitioners for health, performance and/or conduct during the year.
  • AHPRA received 1,043 advertising related complaints and 416 title protection complaints.
  • 12 cases of falsely claiming to be a registered health practitioner were successfully prosecuted before the courts.

To find out more, read our published annual report and its supplementary tables. These are available on our website now, and summaries for each profession will also be published soon.

You can also access the annual report webinar presented by AHPRA CEO Martin Fletcher via this link and password: ahpra201718

Registration, accreditation and notifications data

Graphic 1: Registration, accreditation and notifications data

Registered health practitioners in the National Scheme — percentage for each profession

Graphic 2: Registered health practitioners in the National Scheme - percentage for each profession

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Dr Joanna Flynn AM receives international recognition as patient safety champion

Photo of Dr Joanna Flynn

Dr Joanna Flynn’s final term as Chair of the Medical Board of Australia ended in August with many reflecting on her numerous achievements over a distinguished 30-year contribution to professional regulation.

These achievements were not only celebrated in Australia but were recognised internationally including being awarded an international award for regulatory excellence from the Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation (CLEAR).

The prestigious award recognises an individual who has made an outstanding contribution of service and commitment to enhancing occupational or professional regulation, regulatory processes, consumer or public protection.

AHPRA CEO Martin Fletcher said the award recognised Dr Flynn as a champion of patient safety.

‘Dr Flynn has earned a reputation internationally for her wisdom, integrity, decisiveness, intelligence, insight and compassion. She has a profound belief that well-founded trust must be the basis of the relationship between patients and their doctors, relentless in her focus on protecting patients, and on engaging with the profession and the community to strengthen and improve medical regulation in Australia,’ Mr Fletcher said.

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National Board appointments announced in November

Australian Health Ministers announced in November the appointments and reappointments of National Board Chairs, practitioner members and community members to fill vacancies arising across 13 National Boards.

A total of 101 appointments and reappointments were made. We received a record number of applications in response to the call for registered health practitioners and members of the community to apply to be appointed to a National Board. In total, 780 applications were received for the 102 vacancies.

For the first time since the National Scheme began in 2010, we are close to parity between the number of female and male National Board Chairs with eight female chairs and seven male chairs. More Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are also becoming regulatory decision-makers than ever before: 12 people appointed to six National Boards identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander persons.

This is an important step in closing the gap in health outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and other Australians – something we’re actively striving for through our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Strategy. It will also help to ensure that the work of the National Scheme is provided in a holistic and culturally safe way.

While AHPRA and National Boards welcomed 101 appointments and reappointments to National Boards, we noted the retiring of six National Board Chairs, who were first appointed as inaugural Chairs and Board members – Dr John Lockwood AM from the Dental Board of Australia, Dr Joanna Flynn AM from the Medical Board of Australia, Mr William Kelly from the Pharmacy Board of Australia, Dr Charles Flynn from the Physiotherapy Board of Australia, Ms Cathy Loughry from the Podiatry Board of Australia, and Professor Brin Grenyer from the Psychology Board of Australia.

All made a significant contribution to the establishment and work of the National Scheme and showed remarkable dedication to health practitioner regulation.

A full list of Board appointments is available in the COAG Health Council communiqué from 6 November 2018.

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Paramedics: Welcome to the National Scheme!

On Saturday 1 December 2018 we reached a milestone for the National Scheme with paramedicine becoming the sixteenth regulated health profession.

Reflecting on the milestone, Paramedicine Board of Australia Chair Associate Professor Stephen Gough ASM Gough noted that it was the culmination of many years of debate, deliberation and sustained effort by the paramedic profession to join a national regulatory scheme that has patient safety at its heart.

‘While paramedics have always had the patient at the centre of everything they do – showing compassion, understanding and empathy to those they provide care – the past two decades have also seen the profession grow in complexity; paramedics are now working in a range of roles and environments, using sophisticated treatments and technology, to provide world-class services to Australian communities.

‘Regulating paramedicine under the National Scheme acknowledges the critical role paramedics play in our health system and recognises paramedics as registered health professionals,’ Associate Professor Gough said.

1 December 2018 also marks just over two years since the COAG Health Council announced its intention to regulate the paramedicine profession, with the inaugural National Board appointed in October 2017.

Over this time, stakeholders across the profession, including governments, jurisdictional ambulance services, and private and volunteer organisations, have worked together to make sure that all eligible paramedics are well prepared for regulation.

Since registration opened at the beginning of September 2018, we have had over 17,000 paramedics apply for registration.

Find out more about paramedicine on the Board’s website.

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Focus on enhancing public safety

More public information on the national register

Changes to make it easier to access public information about Australia’s health practitioners on the national Register of practitioners are now underway.

The National Boards have decided to link a practitioner’s information on the national register to public tribunal decisions when serious allegations have been proven, in the interests of transparency and on the recommendation of the Independent review of the use of chaperones to protect patients in Australia.

The online Register of practitioners has accurate, up-to-date information about the registration status of Australia’s 700,000 registered health practitioners. As decisions are made about a practitioner’s registration renewal or disciplinary proceedings, the register is updated to inform the public about the current status of individual practitioners and any restrictions placed upon their practice.

The Medical Board of Australia led the way in making the change earlier this year which is simply helping to make already publicly available information easier to find. This approach will now be applied progressively to all registered health practitioners when serious allegations have been proven.

By early 2019, links will be added for all relevant decisions dating back to when each National Board joined the National Scheme. No information about the notifications received by the Boards and AHPRA will be published.

Search the register at www.ahpra.gov.au/registration/registers-of-practitioners.

Further information is available on the AHPRA website.

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True partnership recognised through MOUs with Victorian and Western Australian police

Many organisations are involved in public safety. It is often important for these organisations to collaborate with each other on the public’s behalf to provide them with greater protection.

In July 2018, AHPRA announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Victoria Police in a move to improve patient safety.

The MOU was the first of its kind between AHPRA and a police force. It recognises the cooperation already in place between the two agencies, operating under existing laws. It provides a mechanism for the release of information by AHPRA when it identifies information relating to criminal offences, including physical harm, sexual offending, the production of exploitative material and/or drug offences.

A second MOU was announced between AHPRA and Western Australia Police in early December 2018.

Formalising the working relationships with Australian law enforcement agencies is an important step for AHPRA. Victoria Police and Western Australia Police are now better placed to share information with AHPRA about practitioners who they suspect may pose a risk of substantial harm to the public or individuals posing as registered health practitioners when they are not.

The two separate agreements lay out detailed security protocols around the transmission, storage, use and disclosure of information that is shared between AHPRA and the state-based police forces in Victoria and Western Australia.

Speaking about both MOUs AHPRA CEO Martin Fletcher said: ‘These agreements formalise a long history of cooperation between AHPRA and the Victorian and Western Australian police. They will help us to protect the public and further manage possible risks to patient safety. We already have a strong and productive working relationship with both Victoria Police and Western Australia Police. To document these relationships by way of an MOU recognises our different jurisdictions but common purpose to play our role in keeping the public safe.'

You can read more in the media release.

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Learning from court and tribunal outcomes

The most serious matters under the National Law1 are heard by the relevant tribunal in each state and territory. These matters may be referred by the relevant National Board or by an individual health practitioner. AHPRA can prosecute individuals in some instances and these cases are heard by the relevant Magistrates’ Court.

Court and tribunal outcomes are independent and public. We publish summaries of these outcomes on the AHPRA and National Boards websites, as well as in our newsletters. This is important as it helps both registered practitioners and members of the public to see the acceptable levels of care and behaviour that health practitioners are expected to practise within.

A number of court and tribunal decisions are summarised below. For more information, follow the link in the summary, go to the Court and tribunal decisions page on the AHPRA website or access the full tribunal decisions on the Australian Legal Information Institute’s (AustLII) site.

Successful prosecution of fake doctor ‘a serious signal to others’

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), on behalf of the Medical Board of Australia has successfully prosecuted fake doctor Raffaele Di Paolo for holding himself out as a registered medical practitioner.

Mr Di Paolo has never been registered as a medical practitioner or in any other regulated profession under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme in Australia and has never completed a medical degree or equivalent qualification. The prosecution by AHPRA took place alongside a criminal prosecution for various indictable offences brought by the Victorian Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).

In relation to the DPP’s charges, the court sentenced Mr Di Paolo to nine years and six months in jail, with a non-parole period of six years and six months, and placed him on the sex offender register for life. For his offences under the National Law, the court recorded a conviction against Mr Di Paolo and imposed a total fine of $5,000 plus costs.

Tribunal suspends nurse for professional misconduct

A tribunal has suspended a nurse for professional misconduct concerning inappropriate conduct towards a student and a patient.

AHPRA received a notification alleging, among other things, that registered nurse Alfredo Crocetti while teaching had touched a student nurse in an inappropriate manner and made sexually suggestive comments.

The tribunal reprimanded Mr Crocetti and suspended his registration as a nurse for two months, taking into account that he had been subject to conditions on his registration for a number of years

Fake orthodontist convicted for performing restricted dental acts

A Victorian court has convicted a man and fined him $65,000 plus $25,000 in costs for unlawfully claiming to be a dental specialist and performing restricted dental acts on two patients.

Edward Lipohar was convicted in the Ringwood Magistrates Court on 7 June 2018, after pleading guilty to three charges. The charges related to Mr Lipohar’s conduct between November 2015 and September 2016 while working at an orthodontic business with premises in Nunawading and Fitzroy, Victoria. During this time he attempted to carry out orthodontic procedures, including fitting corrective or restorative dental appliances.

Mr Lipohar has never held registration as a dental practitioner or as a registered health practitioner or student under the National Law with any National Board.

Victorian man fined $10,000 for claiming to be a clinical psychologist

A court in Victoria has fined a man $10,000 and ordered him to pay more than $14,000 in costs to AHPRA for claiming to be a clinical psychologist.

Adam Carrozza pleaded guilty in the Magistrates’ Court at Melbourne to five charges relating to unlawful use of a protected title and to holding out as a registered psychologist when he was not registered with the Psychology Board of Australia.

Mr Carrozza had made representations and held himself out as a psychologist and/or clinical psychologist to a number of organisations and institutions.

Tribunal suspends pharmacist’s registration, orders ethics and dispensing education

A tribunal suspended a pharmacist’s registration for two months and ordered him to undertake education in ethics and dispensing, after he was found to have engaged in professional misconduct.

Michael Man Ho Tse dispensed fentanyl patches to a patient without a valid prescription or verbal authority from a medical practitioner, did not make any record of dispensing fentanyl patches to the patient, and altered the dates of several of the patient’s fentanyl prescriptions to reconcile the supply of patches for which he did not have a valid prescription.

Mr Tse admitted he had engaged in professional misconduct, including his failure to make contact with a medical practitioner when he was aware the prescribing doctor was away on holidays.

More matters

Since January, we have published 22 other tribunal or court outcomes as news items or media releases on AHPRA and/or National Board websites, including:

  • Chiropractic Board of Australia (1)
  • Dental Board of Australia (1)
  • Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (8)
  • Medical Board of Australia (9)
  • Pharmacy Board of Australia (1), and
  • Psychology Board of Australia (2).

To access the summaries for these matters, please go to the Court and tribunal decisions page on the AHPRA website.


1 The Health Practitioner National Law, as in force in each state and territory.

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Sharing learning opportunities with international regulators

Representation at the international regulatory table

In October, AHPRA’S Executive Director for Regulatory Operations Kym Ayscough was announced as President-elect of the Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation (CLEAR).

The appointment is recognition of Kym’s expertise and reputation but also of the internationally significant work of AHPRA and National Boards as part of a national, multi-professional regulatory scheme.

Kym has been a member of the CLEAR Board of Directors since 2016 and was elected by a vote of all CLEAR members following elections held earlier this year.

CLEAR is an association of more than 460 agencies, organisations and individuals involved in regulating professions and occupations, with a mission to improve the quality and understanding of regulation to enhance public protection.

Kym is looking forward to in her new role. ‘My decision to stand for the position reflects my commitment to CLEAR’s purpose to bring together the professional regulatory community. The notion of global mobility has been a consistent theme of the CLEAR International Congress since inception. CLEAR delivers outstanding training events and provides a unique opportunity for regulators across professions and across borders to share their experiences,’ Kym said.

What to find out more about CLEAR? Visit: www.clearhq.org.

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IAMRA 2018: Empowering regulation with innovation and evidence

Members of the International Association of Medical Regulation Authorities (IAMRA) met in October for the 13th Conference on Medical Regulation in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

This is the first time IAMRA's members representing 48 countries have met in the Middle East, hosted in partnership with the Dubai Health Authority. AHPRA and the Medical Board of Australia jointly hosted the last conference in Melbourne in 2016.

This year's program explored the conference theme of ‘Empowering regulation with innovation and evidence’ and sub-themes of innovative regulatory models, medical workforce, safe practice and quality, and medical education.

Along with National Engagement Adviser Susan Biggar, AHPRA CEO Martin Fletcher presented on some of the innovations we have made to the complaints process to make health practitioner regulation more humane, in the context of our response to feedback from practitioners and notifiers.

Executive Officer for Medical Joanne Katsoris presented on the Medical Board’s Professional Performance Framework and the importance of taking into consideration local culture and context when introducing regulatory change.

Back in Australia, there are new insights to share:

Susan Biggar was interested to see how many other regulators were considering the unintended consequences of regulation. ‘There seemed to be widespread concern about the levels of stress and burnout among the medical professions and the notifications process is often the final straw for many of those practitioners.’

Susan is still reflecting on a powerful talk on Jordan, now the top refugee-hosting country in the world with almost one-third of the population having refugee status. She said, ‘The ability to provide and regulate safe health services in such a resource-deprived, needy environment was amazing. It helped to put the issues we deal with into perspective.’

Joanne Katsoris said it was interesting to hear about and learn from the issues facing international regulators. She reflected on how far we have come in terms of health practitioner regulation in Australia.

‘Our international colleagues were fascinated by our approach to dealing with allegations of sexual misconduct, our work on the notifier and practitioner experience and on the Medical Board’s Professional Performance Framework.

‘I found that there were many common challenges with our regulatory colleagues internationally even though we have quite different models of regulation in different countries. With this in mind, I was pleased to be appointed to the IAMRA Management Committee (to replace Dr Joanna Flynn AM) so we will continue to be very active in our contribution to this important international collaboration.'

Find out more: www.iamra2018.com. You can also check out Dr Anna Van Der Gaag CBE's blog post There is only ‘us’. Anna, former Chair of the UK’s Health and Care Professions Council from 2006-15, provides an insightful summary from the conference, including understanding systemic problems in healthcare delivery and the focus on the voice of the patient.

Tweets from the conference

Tweets

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New projects and programs

Commitment: Health equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

We are proud to be working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health leaders to embed cultural safety in the way we work as regulators, as well as making it an important part of how registered practitioners practise.

This work is being led by a Strategy Group, which includes peak Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health organisations and leaders, including Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association, Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives, Indigenous Allied Health Australia and National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers’ Association, among others. The Strategy Group includes representatives from National Boards, AHPRA, Accreditation Authorities and NSW Health Councils.

Earlier this year, 37 organisations represented on the Strategy Group were signatories to a Statement of Intent, which outlines the vision and goals for this work. A key component of it includes embedding cultural safety into standards, codes and guidelines for practitioners and in how we do our regulatory work.

We are committed to working closely with the Strategy Group and other individuals and organisations to ensure that our approach is culturally appropriate and respectful of the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

The Strategy Group will soon be launching a national, public consultation on the definition of cultural safety in partnership with the National Health Leadership Forum (NHLF).

If you would like to know more, please email communications@ahpra.gov.au and we will add you to the alert list.

Photo of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Strategy Group members

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AHPRA in numbers

11,457,224 page views889,511 first-time visits

8,065 Twitter followers as at 14 December 201822,271 Facebook likes as at 14 December 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Health workforce update

Top professions by registration growthTop jurisdictions by registration growth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Research news

Report: Contributing to risk-based Chinese medicine regulation in Australia

In early October, on behalf of the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia, AHPRA published a research report developed by the AHPRA Research Unit titled, Contributing to risk-based Chinese medicine regulation in Australia. This is an important milestone in the development of our research capabilities as the first internally generated report to be published outside the National Scheme.

The research was initially commissioned by the Board in early 2017 to review the international literature on the risks of harm from the practice of Chinese medicine and compare it to an analysis of notifications data about Chinese medicine practitioners since their entry into the National Scheme.

The report is available in the published research section of the AHPRA website and via the Board’s October newsletter. The findings will help guide the Board’s risk-based approach to regulating Chinese medicine practitioners

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National Board news

Publications and projects roundup

The National Boards publish regular e-newsletters and communiqués on their activities, which you can read on their websites. Recent publications and projects are listed below.

All Boards

Announced National Board appointments.
Published guidance on how to apply for registration online.
Released 2017/18 annual report.
Published a reminder for practitioners to renew registration by 30 November. 
Changes to the National Register of practitioners will make it easier to access public information.
Welcomed release of the Accreditation Systems Review final report.
Called for applications for appointment to Agency Management Committee.
Commissioned a social research project to inform our work implementing the National Scheme.
Welcomed release of a consultation paper on keeping the national legislation on the registration and accreditation of health practitioners across Australia up to date.
Published call for applications for appointment to the List of Approved Persons for panels.
Announced National Board fees set for 2018-19.
Announced a request for tender: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural safety training.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Board of Australia

Published a consultation paper on its draft revised accreditation standards.

Chinese Medicine Board of Australia

Practitioner convicted of unlawful advertising.
Updated the Terms of Reference for the Chinese Medicine Reference Group.
Published call for applications for Chinese Medicine Reference Group.
Published a Board communiqué about the third meeting of the Chinese Medicine Reference Group.
Published the annual revision of the Nomenclature compendium of commonly used Chinese medicine herbs.

Chiropractic Board of Australia

Published highlights from meeting between practitioners and stakeholders to discuss workplace-based learning.
Released quarterly registration data.
Published new information for students and graduates.
Practitioner reprimanded for inadequate professional indemnity insurance cover.

Dental Board of Australia

Unregistered individual convicted and fined.
Published updated frequently asked questions to answer common queries about transition phase.
Released review – Improving scope of practice regulation to reflect contemporary practice.
Published new results format for OET English language test.
Published public consultation on the proposal to close the Public Sector Dental Workforce Scheme.

Medical Board of Australia

Medical Practitioner convicted for attempted murder of a pharmacist after reported misconduct – we want people to be safe when making a complaint about a registered practitioner.
Former medical practitioner prosecuted and fined for claiming a member of staff was a registered health practitioner.
Released quarterly registration data.
Junior doctor reprimanded for prescribing without clinical justification.
Medical practitioner reprimanded for professional misconduct.
Doctor reprimanded and fined for ordering blood test for Essendon football players.
Tribunal cancels practitioner’s registration after having a personal relationship with a patient.
Further fines for fake doctor.
Published guidelines on the process for recognising new or amended medical specialties.
Published new results format for OET English language test.
Tribunal suspends GP for practising without professional indemnity insurance.
Medical practitioner reprimanded and fined $20,000 for professional misconduct.
Published a survey to find out how well interns felt medical school prepared them for their internship. 
International recognition for patient safety champion. 
Conviction for individual holding out as a registered psychologist and unlawfully using a specialist medical title.

Medical Radiation Practice Board of Australia

Celebrated World Radiography Day.
Published new results format for OET English language test.
Released consultation paper on draft revised accreditation standards
Released quarterly registration data.

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia

Tribunal suspension highlights need for nurses to report criminal matters.
Tribunal upholds Board's decision to refuse registration.
Tribunal reprimands nurse for professional misconduct.
Tribunal suspends nurse for professional misconduct.
Released revised English language skills registration standard.
Tribunal decides that a former midwife will never practise again after finding she had engaged in professional misconduct.
Published fact sheets to help answer questions about dual registration in nursing and paramedicine.
Board transitions to new assessment model for international nurses and midwives.
New Midwife standards for practice take effect. 
Update on SMS text message alert for nurses and midwives.
Published new results format for OET English language test.
Published call for applications for appointment for Victorian Board.
Tribunal suspends nurse for eight months for professional misconduct.

Occupational Therapy Board of Australia

Welcomed new community member.
Released quarterly registration data.
Published new results format for OET English language test.
Hosted webinar about graduate registration as an occupational therapist.

Optometry Board of Australia

Released quarterly registration data.
Published new results format for OET English language test. 
Revised endorsement for scheduled medicines registration standard takes effect. 
Vote Trust applications for 2018-19 grants.
Updated fact sheet on limited registration for postgraduate training and/or supervised practice.

Osteopathy Board of Australia

Released quarterly registration data.

Paramedicine Board of Australia

Released a Transitional arrangements policy for the English language skills registration standard (English language standard).
Ministers announce national regulation to start on 1 December 2018.
Introduced expanded supervised practice framework.
Paramedics get ready for regulation! National registration is open.
‘Paramedic’ to become a protected title.
Published new video about registration standards.

Pharmacy Board of Australia

Medical practitioner convicted for attempted murder of a pharmacist after reported misconduct – we want people to be safe when making a complaint about a registered practitioner.
Published report about the Pharmacist prescribing forum.
Recognised the expertise of pharmacists on World Pharmacists’ Day.
Tribunal suspends pharmacist’s registration, orders ethics and dispensing education.
Published new results format for OET English language test.
Pharmacist reprimanded and disqualified from applying for registration for workplace theft. 
Intern Year Blueprint project now concluded.

Physiotherapy Board of Australia

Published new results format for OET English language test.
Encouraged practitioners to take care of their own health on World Physical Therapy Day.
Released quarterly registration data.
Reminded practitioners to be audit ready.

Podiatry Board of Australia

Published new results format for OET English language test.
Revised endorsement for scheduled medicines registration standard.

Psychology Board of Australia

Fourth-year students seeking provisional registration can apply online now.
Published call for applications for the National Psychology Examination Committee.
Extension of the higher degree exemption from sitting the national psychology exam. 
Conviction for individual holding out as a registered psychologist and unlawfully using a specialist medical title.

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In conversation with....

Incoming National Board Chairs talking about their visions for the National Scheme

We asked the six new National Board Chairs about what attracted them to their role, what they are most passionate about and their vision for the profession they are regulating.

Dental Board of Australia

Photo of Dr Murray Thomas

Dr Murray Thomas (dentist) has been involved with dental practitioner regulation since 2005, firstly on the Australian Capital Territory Dental Board followed by appointment to the Dental Board of Australia as a practitioner member in 2012.

What attracted you to the role of National Board Chair?

I am enthusiastic, positive and optimistic about my involvement in the National Scheme, in particular my role now as Chair of the Dental Board. I relish the opportunity to face and resolve the emerging challenges of contemporary health service delivery to consumers and patients. I intend to lead the Board in making a difference in regulation for public protection and contributing to the ongoing development and improvements of the National Scheme.

What are you passionate about?

The increased uptake, development and gains of safety and quality in Australia. I strongly believe that safety of patients and consumers cannot be assured without including quality in hospital, community, education and primary care settings.

What is your vision for the dental profession?

The public is best protected by professionals acting professionally. I am acutely aware of the need for good regulation that can be complied with, is enforceable and makes sense to both the public and dental practitioners. The current authorising environment is filled with questioning and the desire to cut ‘red tape’ – a balance needs to be maintained in the regulation of health practitioners between the individual’s agency and structure: the public having trust in the practitioner; the ethical conduct and behaviour of practitioner providing care; and confidence in the system to assure safety and quality.

Medical Board of Australia

Dr Anne Tonkin was on the South Australian Board of the Medical Board of Australia for 10 years before taking up her new role and she has had a lot of experience ‘at the coalface’, particularly dealing with notifications (complaints).

Photo of Anne Tonkin

What attracted you to the role of National Board Chair?

After joining the National Board three years ago, I was also involved with some of the initiatives to improve the timeliness and consistency of decision-making. One of those roles involved chairing the new national committee set up to deal with all complaints relating to sexual boundaries across the country. It was clear to me that the National Board, in partnership with AHPRA, was entering a new and very exciting phase where national initiatives were contributing to improvements in our processes and outcomes. I was keen to be part of this, in a role where I could contribute most effectively. As Board Chair, I think I will be able to promote new ways of doing things to protect the public and the reputation of the profession. I am also keen to explore ideas for communicating our regulatory mission to the profession and the public and see the role of Chair as a good opportunity to progress this.

What are you passionate about?

People trust their doctors and expect that as professionals, they will be competent and caring, honest and dependable. That trust is crucial for safe and effective medical practice, and I am passionate about safeguarding it. Clearly a major part of that is to take action to protect public safety when a practitioner does not meet expected professional standards. The balancing act is to do that effectively while avoiding getting in the way of the vast majority of practitioners who provide safe and professional care to their patients.

I would very much like to see the profession and the community develop a better understanding of what we regulators do, and why we do it. I think doctors would have a less negative experience, when they are subject to a notification, if they understood the process and the likely outcomes better.

What is your vision for the medical profession?

The profession is going through a period of unprecedented change and this shows no sign of slowing down. Technological advances are making new and complex treatments possible, and previously untreatable diseases are becoming manageable. While this happens, the fundamental professional qualities required for good medical practice remain the same. Doctors still need to focus on the care of their patients, practise safely and effectively, be honest and ethical, communicate openly and compassionately with their patients, and through these professional behaviours, continue to deserve the trust placed in them by their patients and the community in general.

My vision is for the Board and AHPRA, working together, to assist and encourage the profession to keep these attributes in the front of their minds and at the heart of their practice, and to deal swiftly and appropriately with those few who fall short, to help keep the public safe.

It will be regulatory evolution, not revolution while I’m Chair. We have very strong foundations and a clear regulatory direction set by the Professional Performance Framework. We can now fine tune our approach, to respond effectively to the small number of practitioners whose behaviour puts patients at risk and to better support the vast majority of doctors who provide excellent care to their patients.

Pharmacy Board of Australia

Brett Simmonds, practitioner member from Queensland since 2012, and previously the Pharmacy Board’s Deputy Chair, brings his considerable experience to his new role

Photo of Brett Simmonds

What attracted you to the role of National Board Chair?

What attracted me to this role is the same thing that attracted me to pharmacy in the first place and that is a desire to see the best possible health outcomes for people. I want to encourage and promote high standards and competence in practice to ensure the public are receiving the best possible treatment.

I have been in the regulatory environment for over a decade and have had a very good grounding in how the National Scheme operates and the many roles the Board performs. I am very keen to lead the Board in helping the profession increase its cultural awareness and social accountability.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about pharmacy and people. I want to see the scope of practice of our profession expand to enable better health outcomes and access to services for the public. I am very keen to see that the Board does not put up regulatory barriers to these opportunities but also that the Board carries out its important role to protect the public and ensure pharmacists are appropriately trained and competent to perform these expanded roles. I want to ensure that our profession fulfills our duty of care to the highest possible standard.

What is your vision for the pharmacy profession?

Pharmacists have a wealth of knowledge and skills and we have to be better utilised in the healthcare system. We are known as the ‘Medication Experts’ but I would like that to change to ‘People’s Medicine Expert’, to ensure that we, along with others in the healthcare team, encourage and enable patient centred care. I want to see pharmacists practise to their full scope of practice and provide the public with expert medicine management in a culturally safe environment

Physiotherapy Board of Australia

Adjunct Associate Professor Kim Gibson has been involved in the regulation of physiotherapists since 2003 and served two terms as the Western Australia practitioner member on the National Board.

Photo of Kim Gibson

What attracted you to the role of National Board Chair?

I am excited to have the opportunity to apply my knowledge and experience in my role as Chair. It is a privilege to follow in the footsteps of my respected colleagues in chairing the Physiotherapy Board.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about safety and quality in healthcare and the need to strive to do zero harm to patients and clients. Regulation is just one very important way for us to achieve that. I am also passionate about teamwork and see it as my role to ensure that the wealth of experience and expertise around our Board table is put to optimal use with the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.

What is your vision for the physiotherapy profession?

It is pleasing to see very low rates of complaints against physiotherapists as they are well educated, well qualified and well respected in the Australian community. I am keen to see that Board continues to travel in the direction set by my predecessors, where the Board is an active participant and proactive collaborator in the ongoing improvements to our regulation of the health professions through the National Scheme.

Podiatry Board of Australia

As a podiatrist for over 20 years, Dr Cylie Williams PhD takes on the role of Chair of the Podiatry Board of Australia with a wealth of experience, including in research.

Photo of Cylie Williams

What attracted you to the role of National Board Chair?

I have always had an interest in policy and governance, and more recently, an interest in health professional policies and guidelines within large public healthcare settings. This has particularly been in relationship to governance structures relating to patient care and outcomes. I was attracted to the role of National Board Chair as I have seen what a valuable contribution this position can make in the healthcare landscape in Australia.

What are you passionate about?

I am both a podiatrist and a researcher. I am passionate about being part of a safe, highly effective and responsive podiatry workforce using my skills in all working environments. As a podiatrist this means partnering with my patients for their best outcomes. In my research role, I help provide solutions to the complex problems encountered by the allied health workforce. My role on the Podiatry Board is an opportunity to contribute to the safety of the general public through regulation of health professionals.

What is your vision for the podiatry profession?

Podiatry is a rapidly growing profession. This brings unique opportunities and challenges for the delivery of podiatry services in all environments. My vision is that we continue to see podiatry as the leader in foot health for Australia. This can only happen through the continued excellent delivery of entry-level education of podiatry students, and through podiatrists and podiatric surgeons committing to adapt to these challenges and be evidence-based clinicians in all healthcare settings.

Psychology Board of Australia

Rachel Phillips is a practitioner member from Queensland who has been on the National Board since 2015. She is committed to social justice, including sustainable access to psychology services.

Photo of Rachel Phillips

What attracted you to the role of National Board Chair?

I have always been actively involved in contributing back to the psychology profession through supervision and various professional leadership roles. More recently I have been leading and supporting community access to high quality allied health services in a socioeconomically disadvantaged area of Queensland. The role of National Board Chair is a privilege, especially in being able to lead the setting of standards and guidelines that strive to uphold community confidence in psychologists and support sustainable access to psychological services.

What are you passionate about?

Social justice has always been a powerful motivator for me as a psychologist, health professional, and person. That there is a such a significant variation in access to evidence-based care across Australia depending on where you live, your socioeconomic status and cultural background is unacceptable. One of the objectives of the National Scheme is to ensure that there is access to health services and supporting a sustainable health workforce supply. The psychology workforce continues to grow strongly which gives us the opportunity to improve community access to services by considering the usefulness of our training and competency standards.

There remains an ongoing reluctance to seek help for mental health conditions in the community and also among health practitioners. Psychology is a diverse profession with health professionals working across all major service contexts: health, welfare, school and higher education, defence, organisations, corrections, and in elite sports. The role of psychologists in promoting optimal psychological wellbeing and performance contributes to a more productive society. We can take a lead in promoting this message by harnessing our diversity.

What is your vision for the psychology profession?

The majority of psychologists act in good faith, are conscientious, and take their role seriously. They are aware of their obligations under the National Law and will proactively remediate any areas for improvement. This means for the most part psychology regulation is working well and the Board will only act to limit someone’s registration when there is a clear public interest. Conversely, there continues to be much discussion about psychology training being unnecessarily complex and complicated. I plan to engage more proactively with the community, profession and stakeholders to promote an ongoing collaborative working relationship that builds trust in psychology regulation, simplifies training pathways, and improves access to services.

Shared goals and commitment across professions

What all our new National Board Chairs have in common is enthusiasm, knowledge and the determination to put their ideas into practice. It’s a challenging time for all health professions and able leadership is essential for the National Scheme to continue to develop and mature. Their succession to these leadership roles reflects the depth and breadth of their skills and experience from serving on the National Boards, the state and territory boards and as health practitioners.

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Page reviewed 18/12/2018