Mandatory notifications: changes to protect your health

Simon Milton - Professional Officer

An important part of being a health professional is getting the healthcare you need, without fear of a mandatory notification being made against you.

The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law sets out the mandatory reporting 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.

In 2019, health Ministers agreed to make changes to mandatory notifications requirements in the National Law, raising the threshold for when a notification must be made.

Under these amendments, three of the four types of conduct (impairment, intoxication and practice outside of professional standards), which may lead to a mandatory notification, will now require the conduct to place the public at a substantial risk of harm. This is a very high threshold for reporting risk of harm to the public.

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.

Further information including a resource kit can be found on the Psychology Board of Australia’s website.