The Medical Board of Australia (MBA), for some time, has been consulting in relation to re-validation proposals for doctors. An expert advisory group has now released its final report with suggestions to enhance CPD arrangements and provide a targeted approach to assess and manage those doctors most likely at risk.

With a framework clearly designed to enhance public safety, the MBA will consult widely with the profession in relation to broad proposals for what it is calling “a professional performance framework”. This includes enhancing CPD requirements for all doctors and a targeted approach to identify doctors at risk or doctors who may be performing poorly. This is a significantly different approach to that undertaken in the UK, where formal re-validation and assessment is required for all doctors over fixed periods of time. Those arrangements have been heavily criticised by the profession in the UK.

Strengthening CPD

CPD can continue to be undertaken through the specialist medical colleges and otherwise will now require doctors to have their own professional development plan for CPD. CPD is to be enhanced, requiring specific time reviewing performance data, measuring outcomes and self-reflection.

Identifying doctors at risk

The Board is consulting in relation to identified risk factors such as having multiple complaints and practice over the age of 70. It has foreshadowed a proposal to require doctors over the age of 70 to have a three yearly check-up which includes cognitive assessment.

Doctors with multiple complaints

Responses to this cohort of doctors may include formal peer review processes to identify sub-standard performance.

Enhanced standards

The Board will publish enhanced professional standards to better support medical care and provide more substantive guidance in the area of professionalism.

Collaborations

The MBA will work with specialist medical colleges and other appropriate professional groups to enhance a culture of professionalism, a culture of respectful behaviours both for patients and peers and enhance the availability of appropriate data in this area.

Next Steps

The Board will take some further time to consult widely within the profession on these proposals and to undertake further research and seek further clinical advice on some of the targeted areas of work to identify medical practitioners at risk.

Further information can be obtained at the AHPRA/Medical Board of Australia website.