AHPRA publishes Health Profession Agreements 2014/2015

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (“AHPRA”) has recently published a series of Health Profession Agreements that detail the relationships between the National Boards and AHPRA.

The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009 requires AHPRA and each National Board to enter a Health Profession Agreement outlining the services to be provided by AHPRA to the Board to enable it to carry out its functions, the fees payable by health practitioners and the annual budget of the Board.

AHPRA publishes the Health Profession Agreements annually in light of the guiding principles of the National Law, which provide that the National Scheme is to operate in a ‘transparent, accountable, efficient and fair way’. The National Scheme is implemented in accordance with the guiding principles to ensure, among other things, that only health practitioners who are suitably trained and qualified to practise in a competent and ethical manner become registered.

To view the Health Profession Agreements, click here.

Legislation

Justice Legislation Amendment (Confiscation and Other Matters) Bill 2014 (Vic)

The Bill was passed by Victorian Parliament on 14 October 2014 and is awaiting Royal Assent.  The Bill will introduce new laws protecting nurses, doctors and other healthcare workers from threatening behaviour, violence and assaults.  The Bill introduces new offences and tougher sentencing, including, for example, sentences of six months jail and fines for offenders who assault health practitioners in hospital or anywhere they are proving care (double the usual penalty for assault).

To view the Bill as passed, click here.

Legislation introduced to address recovery of past care costs for home care recipients who receive compensation

On 25 September 2014, the Health and Other Service (Compensation) Care Charges (Amendment) Bill 2014 (Cth) and Aged Care and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 (Cth) were introduced into Parliament.  Among other things, the Bills propose to amend the Health and Other Services (Compensation) Act 1995 (Cth) and Health and Other Services (Compensation) Care Charges Act 1995 (Cth) to overcome a current impediment to recovery of past care costs for home care provided to a care recipient who receives compensation.  If passed, the Bills would remove the anomaly by bringing the capacity to recover past care costs for home care in line with the existing arrangements for residential care.

To view the Bills, click here and here.

Cases

Victorian Coroner makes no adverse finding in management of patient refusing treatment

On 10 September 2014, the Coroners Court of Victoria released its finding in the inquest into the death of John William Macfie, a prisoner at Port Phillip Prison.  Mr Macfie had a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension, high cholesterol, ischemic heart disease, two coronary artery bypass graft surgeries and a cardiac stent.  He was also a chronic smoker.

After September 2011, Mr Macfie stopped attending his medical appointments and refused to undergo recommended CT scans or discuss risks associated with non-compliance with his treatment plan.  On 17 April 2013, he was diagnosed with lung cancer.  His scans were discussed and he decided against further investigations and interventions, also signing a “Not for Resuscitation” form.

Mr Macfie was transferred to St Vincent’s Hospital on 17 January 2014.  Due to symptoms relating to his lung cancer, he developed pneumonia, commenced palliative care and passed away on 7 March 2014.  Coroner Olle found no further investigation was required, as the treatment and care provided by St Vincent’s Hospital and the relevant justice facilities was reasonable and appropriate in the circumstances.

To view the findings, click here.

Breast Check Pty Ltd fined $75,000 for false or misleading representations

On 3 October 2014, the Federal Court ordered Breast Check Pty Ltd (now PO Health Professionals Pty Ltd) to pay a fine of $75,000 in relation to findings of false and misleading representations regarding its breast imaging services.  Dr Alexandra Boyd, the former director of Breast Check Pty Ltd, was also fined $25,000 for her involvement.

To view our previous articles, click here and here.

News

AHPRA to improve customer service

AHPRA has published the Health Issues Centre Victoria report into consumers’ experience.

The report makes a number of suggestions to improve consumers’ experience when they engage with the National Scheme.  It advocates more face-to face interaction and quicker resolutions for consumers who make a complaint about a health practitioner.

AHPRA also released an action plan outlining current progress towards improving consumers’ interactions with the National Scheme as well as strategies to implement the recommendations.

To view the report click here.

To view AHPRA’s action plan, click here.