The first person has been found guilty of an offence under Health Practitioner Regulation National Law and has been ordered to pay fines of $20,000. The Western Australian woman was fined for claiming she was a registered psychologist (a protected title) when not currently registered and was required to pay $10,000 per breach.
The Health Practitioner Regulation Law protects the public by requiring that relevant Health practitioners are suitably trained and qualified (through registration) so that they deliver their services safely and in a professional manner. CEO of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulator, AHPRA Mr. Martin Fletcher has stressed the importance of registration:
‘Registration of health practitioners is a key element of protecting the public under the National Law. The registration details of registered health practitioners in Australia are easily accessible to everyone through the online national registers,”
The law not only protects the public, it also helps to protect specialist practitioners from being squeezed out by unqualified staff- in 2013 the Napthine Government released the publication “Guidelines For a Limited X-ray Service in Small Rural Health Services” shortly after completing a pilot program that trained nurses to perform X-rays. The nurses received little more than ten weeks training, prompting a strong response from the Medical Radiations Practice Board of Australia (MRPBA) (see our article “Non-qualified x-ray operators face $30,000 fines“).
VHPA Practitioners covered by the law include:
- Dental Therapists
- Dental Prosthetists
- Medical Imaging Technologists
- Nuclear Medicine technologists
- Radiation Therapists
- Occupational Therapists
The case is a timely reminder to these practitioners to ensure they are fully registered and their details are up to date to avoid a lapse.