Mandatory notifications: What you need to know
Health practitioners are encouraged to seek advice about their own health. An important part of being a health professional is getting the healthcare you need, without fearing a mandatory notification.
Mandatory notifications are a part of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, and set out obligations for registered health practitioners, employers and education providers.
These obligations aim to protect the public by ensuring that the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and the National Boards are made aware of practitioners who may be placing the public at serious risk of harm.
Changes to mandatory notifications
Changes to mandatory notifications requirements in the National Law and the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 (QLD) (the Bill) was passed by the Queensland Parliament in February 2019 and came into effect on the 1 March 2020. These changes will apply to all states and territories except WA, where mandatory notification requirements will not change.
The changes only apply to treating practitioners and intend to support practitioners to seek advice for a health issue (including mental health issues), while continuing to protect the public.
The changes to the guidelines, will raise the threshold of mandatory reporting for treating practitioners for impairment, intoxication or breach of professional standards – but not for sexual misconduct. Once in place, mandatory reporting will only be required when the public is deemed at ‘substantial risk of harm’, a higher threshold than the old requirement of at ‘risk of harm’.
Take a look at AHPRA’s new resources that explain mandatory notifications and when they do and do not need to be made, in preparation for new requirements that take effect in early 2020.