Revised guidelines up for discussion

Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency

Thursday, 19 September, 2019

Revised guidelines up for discussion

The National Boards for the 16 regulated health professions and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) are carrying out public consultations asking for people to have their say on revised guidance to help practitioners and others understand their mandatory notification obligations, understand their obligations when advertising a regulated health service and support a responsive and risk-based approach to supervised practice.

The revised policy guidance is set to replace current guidance in three major areas:

  • Revised Guidelines: Mandatory notifications about registered health practitioners and Guidelines: Mandatory notifications about health students
  • Revised Guidelines for advertising a regulated health service; and
  • A proposed Supervised practice framework (not including pharmacy and psychology).

The changes to the guidelines for mandatory notifications are as a result of legislation passed by the Queensland Parliament earlier this year. The revised guidelines aim to help practitioners, employers and education providers understand whether to make a mandatory notification about a registered health practitioner.

The amendments apply to registered health practitioners in all states and territories except Western Australia and modify the reporting obligations for practitioners who are treating other registered health practitioners. These changes aim to give practitioners confidence to seek treatment for their health and wellbeing, while continuing to prevent the risk of harm to the public. In particular, the threshold for reporting by treating practitioners has been raised, which means the circumstances that would trigger a mandatory notification by a treating practitioner are more limited than in the past.

The Guidelines for advertising a regulated health service have been updated to help practitioners understand their advertising obligations under the National Law. They explain and provide guidance on these obligations with the structure and readability of the guidelines improved to make it easier to find specific information.

The proposed Supervised practice framework aims to replace the current supervision guidelines for all professions apart from pharmacy and psychology. The framework supports improvements and consistency across professions and reinforces the range of uses of supervised practice. The framework will be supported by fact sheets, frequently asked questions, a supervised practice plan and report templates.

AHPRA CEO Martin Fletcher highlighted the importance of making sure regulatory tools, including guidance, are up to date and cohesive, which benefits Australian patients and the health sector.

“The work of the National Boards and AHPRA, and the role of health practitioner regulation, is key to supporting patient safety in the Australian health system,” he said. “We are updating these core documents to make sure the guidance we provide and expect others to follow is contemporary, fit for purpose and meets the expectations of the public and needs of the health system.”

All three consultations are now open, and will close as follows:

  • Public consultation on the mandatory notifications guidelines will close on 6 November.
  • Public consultation on the advertising guidelines will close on 26 November.
  • Public consultation on the supervised practice framework will close on 17 December.

The consultation papers are available on the Consultations page of the AHPRA website. Feedback is invited from practitioners, other stakeholders and the community.

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