Progressing reforms to the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law

Consultation paper: Regulation of Australia's health professions: keeping the National Law up to date and fit for purpose

Released: 30 July 2018

Closed: 30 October 2018

Consultation on the second stage of reforms to the National Law took place in 2018. Stakeholder views on potential reforms detailed in hte consultation paper were sought.

Submissions from stakeholders are being analysed to help inform draft policy proposals and recommendations for consideration by Ministers.

Regulation of Australia's health professions: keeping the National Law up to date and fit for purpose (PDF)

Regulation of Australia's health professions: keeping the National Law up to date and fit for purpose (Word)

Documents were provided to help stakeholders prepare responses:

The Guide to the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for health professions provides an overview of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS).
 

All submissions are considered public documents and may be posted on this website, unless marked ‘private and confidential’. Additional information about the publishing of submissions, privacy and confidentiality is included in the response template.

 

Progressing reforms of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law

An Independent review of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS) for health professions was undertaken in 2014–15. The NRAS Review recommended a number of reforms to the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (the National Law) which are being progressed in stages:

 

Stage 1

 

In 2017, the first stage of amendments were made to the National Law following extensive consultation as part of the NRAS Review. Further targeted consultation on the draft Bill was undertaken in February 2017, and this first stage of legislative reform will be completed when the provisions in the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2017 commence. While some of these amendments came into effect in September 2017, staged commencement of others will occur through late 2018.

Key reforms included:

  • national registration for the profession of paramedicine
  • a new power for the COAG Health Council to change the structure of National Boards by regulation following consultation
  • recognition of nursing and midwifery as separate professions
  • strengthening notifications management and disciplinary and enforcement powers to improve their effectiveness and administration, and better protect the public
  • technical and miscellaneous amendments to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the National Law.

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.

On 1 December 2018, the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Regulation 2018 came into effect and the final set of amendements arising from the stage 1 reforms commenced.

 

Stage 1a

 

In March 2017, Ministers requested further urgent reforms to the National Law in relation to strengthened penalties and interim prohibition order powers. In August 2017, Ministers requested urgent advice on nationally-consistent mandatory reporting provisions under the National Law to developed before the Stage 2 process. In April 2018, Ministers agreed a nationally-consistent approach to mandatory reporting. The approach proposes exemptions from the reporting of notifiable conduct by treating practitioners (noting Western Australia’s current arrangements are retained) that will be subject to formal approval by jurisdictions in certain circumstances. Further information on these reforms are outlined in COAG Health Council communiques.

The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law and Other Legislation Amdment Bill 2018 was introduced to the Queensland Parliament in October 2018 and referred to its Health Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee. The Committee published its report on 5 February 2019 and the Amedment Bill will return to the Queensland Parliament for debate.

 

Stage 2

 

In July 2018, the second stage reform process began with the release of the consultation paper, Regulation of Australia's health professions: keeping the National Law up to date and fit for purpose. As well as implementing the remaining key reform proposals arising from the Independent Review that were not addressed in the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2017, the Stage 2 process also includes:

  • Additional issues and proposals raised by Ministers, jurisdictions, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, the National Health Practitioner Ombudsman and Privacy Commissioner and external stakeholders.
  • Recommended legislative reforms arising from other inquiries and reviews
  • Issues raised during consideration of the stage 1 Amendment Act.

Other NRAS Review reform projects that are currently underway or are yet to be finalised and/or released are:

  • the Independent Review of Accreditation Systems
  • the Review of NRAS Governance.