Registration of healthcare practitioners helps protect the public by making sure that only practitioners who have the skills and qualifications to provide safe care are registered to practise their profession. Registration boards set standards and policies that all registered health practitioners must meet. Boards also have the power to discipline practitioners.
If you make a complaint to us about a registered practitioner, we are obliged to inform the practitioner's registration board of the complaint. You may also notify the practitioner's registration board of your concerns. It is important to remember that we cannot lay blame, take disciplinary action or award compensation.
The role of registration boards
Australia has a national scheme for the registration and accreditation of health professionals. The national scheme:
- enables healthcare practitioners to move, or provide telemedicine services, across state and territory borders
- ensures consistency of laws applicable to healthcare practitioners
- establishes a public national register to ensure that a practitioner who is suspended or cancelled in one state or territory does not practise elsewhere in Australia
- increases public safety checks
- supports professional and performance standards.
There are 14 national registration boards:
|Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Board of Australia
||Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners|
Chinese Medicine Board of Australia
|Chinese medicine practitioners, acupuncturists, Chinese herbal medicine practitioners, Chinese herbal dispensers and oriental medicine practitioners |
|Chiropractic Board of Australia
|Dental Board of Australia
||Dentists, dental specialists, dental therapists, dental hygienists, oral health therapists and dental prosthetists|
|Medical Board of Australia
||Medical practitioners - doctors, general practitioners, surgeons, specialists|
Medical Radiation Practice Board of Australia
|Diagnostic radiographers, radiation therapists and nuclear medicine technologists|
|Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia
|Occupational Therapy Board of Australia
|Optometry Board of Australia
|Osteopathy Board of Australia
|Pharmacy Board of Australia
|Physiotherapy Board of Australia
|Podiatry Board of Australia
|Psychology Board of Australia
The role of the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA)
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
(AHPRA) supports the registration boards in regulating the professions and manages the registration processes for healthcare practitioners and students around Australia. AHPRA publishes national registers of practitioners so important information about the registration of individuals is available to the public.
AHPRA has offices in Brisbane (and in the other states and territories) where the public can make notifications about a registered health practitioner or student. On behalf of the boards, AHPRA manages investigations into the professional conduct and performance of registered health practitioners (except in New South Wales, where this is done by the Health Care Complaints Commission).
How we work with AHPRA on complaints and notifications
The way we work with AHPRA is governed both by the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009 (National Law) and the Health Quality and Complaints Commission Act 2006 (HQCC Act).
The HQCC Act and the National Law both use the word 'complaint' to refer to a complaint made to a health complaints agency, such as our organisation, and the word 'notification' to refer to a matter raised with a national board through mandatory or voluntary notification.
If we receive a complaint about a healthcare practitioner, we must:
- notify the national board (through AHPRA) as soon as practicable
- give the national board a copy of the complaint, and other information
If a national board receives a notification which would also provide a ground for a complaint to us, the national board (through AHPRA) must:
- notify us as soon as practicable
- give us a copy of the notification, and other information.
AHPRA and our organisation then consult as to whether the notification or complaint should be dealt with by the national board or by the Health Quality and Complaints Commission. If agreement cannot be reached, the most serious action (open to either our agency in the case of a complaint or the national board in the case of a notification) proposed by either organisation must be taken.
To help us work together, our agency and the other state and territory health complaints agencies (excluding the Health Care Complaints Commission in New South Wales) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding
(MOU) with AHPRA. The MOU aims to facilitate interaction between the health complaints agencies and AHPRA, particularly in relation to sections 149 and 150 of the National Law, which set out the relationship between the National Boards, AHPRA and health complaints agencies.
Mandatory reporting by healthcare practitioners
Although there are exceptions, a registered healthcare practitioner must notify the national board as soon as possible if, in the course of practising their profession, they form a reasonable belief that a colleague has:
- practised the practitioner's profession while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs
- engaged in sexual misconduct in connection with the practice of the practitioner's profession
- placed the public at risk of substantial harm in the practitioner's practice of the profession because the practitioner has an impairment
- placed the public at risk of harm because the practitioner has practised the profession in a way that constitutes a significant departure from accepted professional standards.