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Over the past few years there have been profound changes in the regulation and registration of the health professions. Fifteen professions are now included in a national scheme and others may join them. All of the registered professions are covered by the same legislation for accreditation, registration and the monitoring of practice, to ensure that standards are maintained to protect the public. More than 700,000 health practitioners are registered under the national scheme and, when it was adopted in July 2010, 66 acts of parliament were repealed and about 85 health professional boards were abolished. This subject will provide a detailed examination of the scheme, which has centralised the disciplinary process, with the state and territory registration bodies acting under delegated authority from the federal board. The subject will also provide an understanding of how health practitioners, their employers and educators can report ‘notifiable conduct’ of practitioners to the national regulator, and how healthcare consumers (patients) can lodge a ‘notification’ about the practice of a health practitioner. The course will scrutinise the concept of revalidation, and the health, fitness/character, performance and conduct pathways, analysing the factors that lead to different forms of disciplinary findings and determinations for different forms of problematic conduct, including sexual misconduct and serious error. It will examine what differentiates permissible from impermissible advertising, will evaluate how unregistered practitioners are now regulated and will explore how registered, unregistered and deregistered practitioners’ conduct is regulated by consumer protection legislation.
Principal topics include:
- Legal requirements for accreditation, registration and monitoring of practice of health practitioners in Australia
- The process and grounds for disciplinary action
- An examination of specific disciplinary proceedings against health practitioners, looking at issues of conduct, health, performance and fitness
- A comparison of disciplinary proceedings and other legal action against health practitioners
- Analysis of the regulatory mechanisms applicable to unregistered practitioners
- An evaluation of the new registration scheme and its operation to date
- A review of consumer protection actions that can be taken against health practitioners, both those who are registered and those who are not.
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject will:
- Have examined the legal and theoretical issues underlying the regulation and registration of health practitioners
- Have an advanced and integrated understanding of disciplinary law and practice in relation to the 15 regulated health professions
- Be familiar with the taxonomies of inappropriate conduct and the determinations that can be imposed by ‘responsible tribunals’
- Have a sophisticated appreciation of issues of trust, trustworthiness and currency of practice for health practitioners
- Have an advanced knowledge of the law and practice relating to the accountability of health practitioners for forensic work and scholarly misconduct
- Have examined issues relating to consumer protection regulation of health practitioners
- Have critically examined the forensic relevance of health conditions for regulation of health practitioners
- Have reflected on the concept of therapeutic jurisprudence and its practical operation in relation to the regulation of health practitioners.
Last updated: 10 November 2023