Mandatory reporting 101

Section 140 of the National Law requires that a registered health practitioner must notify the Board if, in the course of practising their profession, they form a reasonable belief that another registered health practitioner has behaved in a way that constitutes notifiable conduct

Notifiable conduct is defined as when a practitioner has:

  1. practised the profession while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs, or
  2. engaged in sexual misconduct in connection with their profession, or
  3. placed the public at risk of substantial harm in their practice because they have an impairment, or
  4. placed the public at risk of harm during their practice because of a significant departure from professional standards.

The National Law

AHPRA national law objectives are to provide for the protection of the public by ensuring that only health practitioners who are suitably trained and qualified to practise in a competent and ethical manner are registered.

Restrictions on the practice of a health professional are to be imposed only if it is necessary to ensure health services are provided safely and are of appropriate quality.

All practitioners have a professional and ethical obligation to protect and promote public health and safe healthcare and under the National Law. Health practitioners, employers and education providers have mandatory reporting responsibilities. The intention is to prevent the public being harmed or placed at risk.

The guidelines for mandatory notifications are available from the Medical and Dental Board websites. These are relevant to you as practitioners, employers and education providers (who are required to report impaired students) and it applies to all health practitioners - not just those within the practitioner's own health profession.

The focus is on serious instances of substandard practice, conduct or impairment that places the public at risk. These include patient/practitioner sexual conduct, practitioner demonstrating cognitive impairment and practitioner who demonstrates evidence of alcohol or drug use on the job.

As the aim is to protect the public, practitioners should only notify AHPRA if they believe that another practitioner has behaved in a way which presents a risk of substantial harm to the public rather than simply not liking the way someone has performed a task or feeling they could have done their job better.

Reasonable belief is a stronger level of knowledge than mere suspicion.  It generally involves direct knowledge or observation of the behaviour or a report from reliable sources (such as someone who has experienced firsthand eg sexual misconduct). Mere speculation, rumours, gossip or innuendo are insufficient to form a reasonable belief.

How do I make a notification?

It is recommended that you submit to AHPRA as soon as practical once you form a ‘reasonable belief’ that a practitioner has engaged in notifiable conduct.

Notify AHPRA by:
  • Calling 1300 419 495
  • Completing a notification form and submitting it online or by post
  • In person at an AHPRA office
Notifications can be made verbally or in writing.


  • WA - treating practitioners are not required to make mandatory notifications about health practitioner patients or clients.
  • QLD (in certain circumstances) – where providing a health service to a colleague and public not at risk - otherwise report to OHO.
  • MIPS clinico-legal advisers are also exempt.
  • MIPS will not report your notifiable conduct

As mentioned, MIPS clinico-legal advisers are exempt from mandatory reporting and encourage all practitioners who have concerns about a malpracticing colleague to contact us for 24hr Clinico-Legal Support on 1800 021 223


Guidelines for mandatory reporting

webinarIf you missed the webinar on Mandatory Reporting, you can earn one hour CPD and watch the full recorded webinar (RACGP and ACRRM accredited)

Disclaimer: 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.

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