AHPRA takes immediate action as notifications increase

AHPRA took immediate action 178 times against medical and dental practitioners in 2018/19 and mandatory notifications increased by almost 40% to 395. Immediate action such as suspension of registration is only conducted where a serious and imminent threat of danger is perceived by AHPRA to the public such as drug/alcohol abuse or inappropriate sexual behaviour.

The AHPRA annual report shows that with growth in industry size also comes increases in notifications. Overall, notifications made about all healthcare practitioners to AHPRA increased 14.3%. Of the notifications AHPRA closed, just under one in five resulted in regulatory action against a practitioner.

AHPRA Registered practitioners 2017/18 2018/19 Change
Medical 115,113 118,996 +3.4%
Dental 23,093 23,730 +2.8%

Despite the increases in the industry size and the number of notifications, the vast majority (73.8%) of notifications concerning medical practitioners end up with a decision to take ‘no further action’. Similarly for dental practitioners, ‘no further action’ was taken in 62.6% of closed notifications.

Medical Dental AHPRA action
4,801 733 notifications closed
5.8% 10.2% had conditions imposed on registration or an undertaking accepted
3.6% 8.5% received a caution or reprimand
0.5% 0.1% registration suspended or cancelled
0.1% 0.1% fined
16.1% 18.4% referred to another body or retained by a health complaints entity
73.8% 62.6% no further action taken

AHPRA has recognised that despite this, most medical practitioners find it very stressful to be the subject of a notification. Notifiers also find the process difficult and can be dissatisfied with the results.

Patients and their relatives are the top notifiers to AHPRA. However, more than one in ten notifications is made by a fellow healthcare practitioner.

Self-reporting should be considered where you are aware of an issue that is likely to result in a notification (eg your own impairment or conduct). You can call MIPS on 1800 061 113 for advice if you want to discuss either reporting a fellow practitioner or reporting yourself. MIPS’ advisers are exempt from mandatory report.

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Notifications to AHPRA about healthcare practitioners from 2018/19 AHPRA Annual Report.

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The materials provided are for educational purposes only. Whilst all reasonable care has been taken in preparing these materials, including the accuracy of the information supplied, MIPS does not accept any liability whatsoever arising out of the use or reliance of the information provided. Contact MIPS 24/7 Clinico-Legal Support 1800 061 113 or education@mips.com.au for specific advice.