Progressing reforms to the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law
An Independent review of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for the health professions (National Scheme) was undertaken in 2014–15. The Review recommended a number of reforms to the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (the National Law).
The reforms to the National Law are currently being progressed in two stages. Stage 1 reforms are expected to be progressed to the Queensland Parliament in 2017. A stage 2 reform process will commence later this year, including a national consultation process.
Stage 1 reforms
The Stage 1 reforms are being progressed in the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Amendment Bill 2017 (the Stage 1 Amendment Bill). The Amendment Bill is due to be considered by the COAG Health Council in April/May, with introduction to the Queensland Parliament, as host jurisdiction, scheduled for mid-2017.
The Stage 1 Amendment Bill contains the following key reforms:
- Introduction of national registration for paramedics, including the establishment of a Paramedicine Board of Australia, with all the same powers and functions as the 14 National Boards
- Improvements to the governance of the National Scheme, to: enable Chairpersons to be appointed on merit from any of the members of a National Board, not just the practitioner members, and to enable the Ministerial Council to make changes by regulation to the structure of National Boards following consultation
- Recognition of nursing and midwifery as two separate professions rather than a single profession, with the professions continuing to be regulated by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia
- Improvements to the complaints (notifications) management, disciplinary and enforcement powers of National Boards to strengthen public protection and ensure fairness for complainants (notifiers) and practitioners
- Other technical amendments to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the National Scheme.
Consultation on Stage 1 Amendment Bill - Closed February 2017
Consultations were undertaken on the stage 1 reforms during February 2017. The Summary of the draft Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Amendment Act 2017 (the stage 1 Amendment Bill) provides a detailed explanation of the reforms in the draft Bill. The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and Supplementary FAQs provide additional information. These documents include specific information relating to registration for paramedics.
Consultation on the draft Amendment Bill closed in February 2017.
Consultation on additional reforms to the National Law
At the COAG Health Council meeting on 24 March 2017, Health Ministers considered the draft Amendment Bill. Ministers also discussed the adequacy of penalties under the National Law, in light of recent cases of individuals holding themselves out as health practitioners when they are not registered under the National Law.
As outlined in the communique, Health Ministers agreed that new multi-year custodial sentences and increased fines and additional prohibition powers are needed for offences committed by people who hold themselves out to be a registered health practitioner, including those who use reserved professional titles or carry out restricted practices when not registered. Ministers requested that these important reforms be fast tracked to strengthen public protection under the National Law.
Consultations were undertaken on these additional reforms during April-May 2017. Consultation questions were used to assist with responses.
Stakeholder feedback will be considered in the development of advice and options for stronger penalties and prohibition order powers to be brought back to Health Ministers.
Queries can be sent to NRAS.Project@dhhs.vic.gov.au
Feedback closed on 12 May 2017.