We monitor restrictions and requirements that have been placed on practitioners to check that they are complying.
Some of the restrictions placed on practitioners require them to provide a report reflecting on the original issue that led to the condition or undertaking and how they would approach the same situation differently following the education or mentoring they were required to complete. We have published additional guidance, including an example approach, to help in practitioner reflection to help minimise unnecessary additional work by the practitioner.
One of our most onerous conditions is Urine Drug Screening, used to ensure that practitioners with historical health impairments are not taking restricted substances. Practitioners are required to present to a pathology collection centre on random days, up to 12 times per month, and provide a urine sample with someone watching. It is always great to receive positive feedback from practitioners, and even more pleasing when someone subject to onerous requirements has something nice to say about our staff:
The case officer has connected with me on many occasions with regular updates, just to ‘check in’ and is there when difficult news has to be delivered. She has made herself accessible and available to my prospective employers, assisted with the mountain of forms and given support wherever it’s required. So, I basically want to express not only my gratitude and appreciation to the case officer for her dedication as a compliance officer, but I want it brought to the attention of her superior to alert them to what an amazing and outstanding job she is doing.
Two performance and quality assurance reviews were carried out:
The top 10 restriction categories by volume being monitored by Ahpra at 30 June equate to 6,702 restrictions. Although 4,650 cases were being actively monitored, each case may have more than one restriction category requiring compliance by the practitioner.
69.8% (4,679) of restrictions in the top 10 restriction categories were imposed as a result of the routine process of a health practitioner obtaining or renewing registration with a National Board.
30.2% (2,023) of the restrictions in the top 10 restriction categories were imposed as a result of a finding made by a National Board, panel or tribunal about a practitioner’s health, performance or conduct.
We received 386 advertising complaints. Of these:
When we identify that advertising by registered health practitioners is not compliant with the Guidelines for advertising a regulated health service, we initially provide practitioners with an opportunity to correct their advertising and only take further regulatory action when this is unsuccessful. There were no instances of continued non-compliant advertising that required regulatory action.
We have historically relied on complaints to identify advertising that doesn’t meet our guidelines. We are now supplementing this approach with a proactive audit of advertising from a sample of practitioners in every profession. This approach is helping us understand the rates of advertising and common issues in each profession. We will be using this information to make further improvements to the dedicated advertising pages on our website and will engage with each profession through Board newsletters and professional associations. The overall objective is to identify issues and make it easy for practitioners to comply.
Sometimes practitioners don’t realise what they are not allowed to claim when they advertise. We provide information to help them.
We reviewed the Guidelines for advertising a regulated health service and evaluated the Advertising compliance and enforcement strategy for the National Scheme. The revised guidelines and updated strategy took effect on 14 December. To support understanding and compliance with the advertising requirements, we redeveloped existing web resources to create an Advertising hub on our website.