Find out about the notifications process

Receiving a concern

There are a number of possible stages in the notifications process. Importantly, not every concern goes through all the possible stages. For example, many notifications are closed after assessment.

In complex cases, a notification can be involved in more than one stage at the same time and can take a number of possible pathways. One of the features of the National Law is its flexibility, so the notifications process can be tailored to the issues that have been identified in the notification.

The initial stages of the process

The notifications process: How AHPRA handles notifications

Acknowledgement and notice

Notifications about health practitioners can be lodged by phone, email, post, through our online notifications portal or in person.

We will acknowledge receipt of all concerns in writing, providing a reference number for the matter.

The practitioner is also usually contacted and advised that it has been received.

Lodgement

During the lodgement, or first stage of a notification, we need to determine if the concern raised:

  • relates to a registered health practitioner, and 
  • relates to a matter that is a ground for a concern under section 144 of the National Law.

We also need to decide during the lodgement stage if there is enough information provided for the concern to proceed. If there is not enough information we will attempt to contact the person who raised the concern and ask for further information. If that is not possible, we may close the concern because there is not enough information to proceed.

If the concern has been made on behalf of the patient, we need the patient’s consent to proceed. If this has not already been provided, we will contact the person who made the concern to obtain the patient’s consent.

If the concern raised identify a possible serious or immediate risk, then you may be contacted and requested to provide further information very quickly.

In some instances, the lodgement stage may take up to 30 days when we need to seek further information. However, we always try to obtain additional information as quickly as possible.

Assessment

An assessment of a matter takes place after we have received enough information about a concern raised, and sufficient information to identify a practitioner.

In most cases, we try to complete the assessment process within 60 days. During this period, we will contact you to make sure we have all of the relevant information about your concerns. The health practitioner who has had a concern raised about them is also usually contacted and may be asked to respond.

Sometimes, AHPRA is not able to contact the practitioner 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.

The role of the AHPRA investigator is to gather relevant information. At the end of the assessment stage, the investigator will present this information to the National Board for consideration. This report is prepared only for the National Board and is not released to the practitioner or the person who raised the concern. All decisions are made by the Board or delegates of the Board. 

After assessing a concern, a National Board has a number of options available including:

  • close the concern, or take another action under the National Law
  • refer the matter or aspects of the matter for investigation, or
  • refer the health practitioner for a health or performance assessment.

Other stages of the process

Find more information about the other stages of the notifications process:

 
 
Page reviewed 29/03/2019