In early 2020, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) released revised guidelines for mandatory notifications made to AHPRA by treating medical practitioners. These guidelines were issued in anticipation of amendments to the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in participating states and territories. The amendments came into effect in March 2020.
The purpose of these amendments is to raise the reporting threshold for treating medical practitioners. Treating practitioners are now required to notify AHPRA only if they believe that another practitioner (i.e. their patient) poses a ‘substantial risk of harm’ to the public.
For those based in Western Australia, it is important to be aware that the above amendments do not alter the position in Western Australia; no amendments have been made to the WA Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (WA) Act 2010 (the National Law).
It is, however, still important for Western Australian practitioners to be familiar with the Guidelines: Mandatory Notifications about registered health practitioners dated March 2020 which summarise the requirements in each state and territory.
WA mandatory reporting requirements
In WA, treating practitioners providing a health service to another practitioner/student remain exempt from the requirements to make a mandatory notification. This exemption is set out in section 141(4)(ca) of the National Law (the treating practitioner exemption).
A mandatory notification is triggered by what is considered ‘notifiable conduct’. Notifiable conduct in relation to a registered health practitioner is defined in section 140 of the National Law and means the practitioner has:
- practised their profession while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs;
- engaged in sexual misconduct;
- placed the public at substantial risk of harm because of an impairment; or
- placed the public at substantial risk of harm because they have practised their profession in a way that departs from accepted professional standards.
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This publication is general in nature and is not comprehensive or constitutes legal or medical advice. You should seek legal, medical or other professional advice before relying on any content, and practice proper clinical decision making with regard to individual circumstances. Persons implementing any recommendations contained in this publication must exercise their own independent skill or judgment or seek appropriate professional advice relevant to their own particular practice. Compliance with any recommendations will not in any way guarantee discharge of the duty of care owed to patients and others coming into contact with the health professional or practice. Tego Insurance Pty Ltd is not responsible to you or anyone else for any loss suffered in connection with the use of this information.
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