Seeking advice about your own health

 

Health practitioner regulators are reminding registered practitioners they can seek advice and support for their own health and wellbeing, without fear of an unnecessary mandatory notification.

The Physiotherapy Board of Australia (the Board) along with the other national boards and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) have released new resources to help explain mandatory notifications and when they need to be made. It follows changes by health ministers to the current mandatory notification requirement.

They help explain the very specific circumstances when a treating practitioner needs to report, which is when an impairment, intoxication at work or practice that departs significantly from accepted standards places the public at substantial risk of harm.

The changes, which are expected to come into effect in early 2020 in all states and territories except Western Australia, apply to the mandatory notifications requirements for treating practitioners. They do not change the obligations of other registered practitioners including physiotherapists, employers or education providers.

‘The resources aim to support and improve practitioners’ understanding of when a mandatory notification should be made and make it clear that a practitioner’s health issue only needs to be notified when it is an impairment that places the public at substantial risk of harm,’ Physiotherapy Board of Australia Chair Kim Gibson says.

The number of mandatory notifications made to National Boards and AHPRA is relatively small. Data from 2018–19 shows that out of a total of 15,858 notifications, only 1807 mandatory notifications (11 per cent) were made across Australia. Of the 1749 mandatory notifications received by AHPRA and the Health Professional Councils Authority in New South Wales, only 419 mandatory notifications (24 per cent) were made about impairment. This is just under three per cent of notifications received by those organisations for the year. The remainder related to other notifiable conduct such as intoxication, sexual misconduct or substandard practice.

‘Having a health issue is not in itself a reason to make a mandatory notification. Physiotherapists should feel assured that seeking help and advice on their health is important,’ Kim says.

The new resources are available on a hub on the AHPRA website and include a resource kit with two videos, social media posts and graphics that can be shared. Additional resources will be added to the hub in advance of the changes coming into effect in early 2020. This includes the revised guidelines on mandatory notifications, which were recently consulted on.

Find out more about mandatory notifications and the changes at ahpra.gov.au/Notifications/mandatorynotifications.

Content for this article was supplied.

 

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