AHPRA reports drop in notifications

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AHPRA Annual report 2020/21 summary

AHPRA recently released their annual report and these are some of the results that may either be of interest or relevant to MIPS members. 

Medical Board of Australia

5,516 notifications were lodged with AHPRA last year, a decrease of 229 from 2019/20. Medical practitioners made up 15.6% of all registered health practitioners with 129,066 now in the profession. An increase of 2.7% from 2019/2020. Highlights included

  • 1,209 practitioners were being monitored for health, performance and/or conduct related issues with 268 for performance and 139 for conduct.
  • 45.3% of complaints concerned clinical care which was the most common type but was lower than last year: 54.2%
  • 104 criminal offence complaints were made of which 69 were about title protection and 22 for advertising breaches.
  • 57 appeals were referred to an adjudicating body of which 48 matters were decided by a tribunal and 9 by a panel.

Dental Board of Australia

The Dental Board of Australia’s focus this year was on a national health and wellbeing service for dental practitioners and improving regulatory effectiveness with a 24/7 free and confidential telephone service to support dental practitioners and students.

Once again, the COVID-19 pandemic continued to dictate a new way of adapting to a changing environment.

On 6 July 2021, new Guidelines for blood-borne viruses for registered healthcare practitioners and students who perform exposure prone procedures came into effect.

Out of 24,984 dental practitioners, there were 710 notifications lodged with AHPRA. Highlights included:

  • 55.4% of notifications were reported by a patient, relative or member of the public. 8.2% were reported by a fellow practitioner.
  • 57.5% of complaints related to clinical care, followed by 7.9% for communication issues, 4.1% for behaviour and 3.8% for documentation.
  • 165 dental practitioners were being monitored for health, performance or conduct related issues. 14 for conduct, 17 for health and 86 for performance.
  • 22 complaints were made for criminal offences, 14 about title protection, 2 about practice protection and 6 advertising breaches.

Medical Training Survey

Medical Board of Australia conducted their third Medical Training Survey since 2019 to better understand the experience of trainees and to improve the quality of medical training.

Feedback was collated from over 21,000 doctors in training which accounts for 57% of all doctors in training. They were surveyed about the quality of training they receive, orientation procedures, workplace environment and culture of workplaces. 87% rated the quality of their clinical supervision and training very highly, and 81% said they would recommend their current training position to other doctors.

34% of doctors in training are still experiencing and/or witnessing bullying harassment and/or discrimination. 66% of doctors reported working more than 40 hours on average a week and 9% who work more than 60 hours per week. 64% considered their work/life balance to be good. 46% thought their workloads were ‘heavy or ‘very heavy’ and only half received payment for unrostered overtime ‘always’ or ‘most of the time’.


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Table: Medical Training Survey High Level Snapshot - Full results at medicaltrainingsurvey.gov.au

CPD changes for doctors

From 1 Jan 2023 there will be new CPD standards for all doctors and a requirement to complete 50 hours per year. As a doctor you will:

  • be required to have a CPD home and participate in its CPD program
  • need a professional development plan that gives your learning purpose
  • have to choose CPD that aligns with your scope of practice

Health checks for later career practitioners

Healthcare practitioners aged over 70 may soon be required to have regular health checks according to a new proposal by the board. AHPRA said the decision was “based on expert advice that increasing age is a known risk factor for poor performance”.

‘Code of conduct for doctors’ update

As of 1 October, there is a new version of the Good medical practice: A code of conduct for doctors in Australia. Updates include:

  • More stringent guidelines around discrimination, bullying, sexual harassment and vexatious complaints
  • A new definition and an expanded section on cultural safety
  • Further information on patient safety and clinical governance
  • A new section on career transitions for doctors

Key resources

Good medical practice: a code of conduct for doctors in Australia
Codes guidelines and policies
Medical Training Survey 2020 – National report
Strengthening CPD

Any queries, contact MIPS

This information is not intended to be legal advice and as such should not be relied on as a substitute. You may need to consider seeking legal or other professional advice about your individual circumstances as appropriate. Should you wish to obtain further information about products offered by MIPS, you can call us on 1800 061 113 or you can review our Member Handbook Combined PDS and FSG. You may need to consider seeking legal or other professional advice about your individual circumstances as appropriate. Information is current as at the date published.

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