New reforms in Australian health regulation
24 Jul 2023
Fifteen new reforms came into effect on 15 May and aim to strengthen public protection. Ahpra now have the authority to warn the public about serious risks associated with individuals, who are subjects of investigations or disciplinary proceedings. This power is only to be used in exceptional circumstances and a stringent legal threshold must be met.
The introduction of the public statement power is part of a broader package of legal updates aimed at improving public safety and fairness for both notifiers and practitioners. Other updates within the reform focus on enhancing the assessment and investigation process, including the ability to compel practitioners to provide information earlier in the complaints process.
Another significant change involves expanding the National Boards' ability to share information following notification to alert third parties to potential harm. National Boards will be able to disclose information to entities that have current "practice arrangements" with a registered practitioner or unregistered individual. Additionally, former employers and associates of registered practitioners can be notified of any actions taken against them. The reforms also enable the disclosure of information to employers regarding unregistered practitioners. Such information sharing will only occur in exceptional cases where there is deemed to be an urgent risk to public safety.
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