Qld passes new health practitioners laws

Marty Silk |

Queensland is the first state to enact laws to boost federal regulation of health professionals.
Queensland is the first state to enact laws to boost federal regulation of health professionals.

Federal regulators can temporarily ban unregistered Queensland health practitioners and warn the public when practitioners are being probed or punished.

Queensland on Thursday became the first state to pass laws that give commonwealth watchdogs more power to regulate health professionals registered with the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme.

Regulators can order interim bans on unregistered practitioners in Queensland and warn people when registered practitioners are under investigation or being disciplined.

Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) chief executive Martin Fletcher praised the reforms, which will be enacted by other states.

‘It’s especially pleasing to see Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and cultural safety at the heart of the reforms,” he said in a statement on Thursday.

‘Ahpra and the national boards are committed to a health system that is both culturally safe and free from racism. 

“Recognising cultural safety as a guiding principle and objective of the national law places this at the heart of our work.”

Medical Board of Australia chair Dr Anne Tonkin promised the power to “name and shame” doctors and other health practitioners would rarely be used.

“And only when there is a serious, unmanaged risk to public health and safety,” she said in a statement.

Ahpra and the national boards can also fine individuals $10,000 and groups $120,000 for advertising breaches in Queensland – double previous amounts.

“This reflects the serious risk that false and misleading advertising can cause harm to the public if it results in poorly informed and unsafe healthcare choices,” Ahpra said in a statement.

The laws were drafted after an agreement between state and territory health ministers in 2019, with other states to follow Queensland.