Health care professional regulatory bodies that manage medical insurance of Australia

 Health care professional regulatory bodies
Health Professions Registration Act 2005
On 1 July 2007 the Health Professions Registration Act 2005 ('the Health Professions Act')
came into force as an omnibus Act to unify the system of registration for health care
professionals, as well as to create a common system of registration for investigations and
hearings in relation to professional performance, professional conduct and the ability of
registered health care professionals to practise.
'Responsible Boards' include those boards established under each of the 11 different health
care professional Acts, such as the Medical Practice Act 1994 and Nurses Act 1993

, which
have now all been repealed and replaced by the Health Professions Act.
The Health Professions Act also provides for the registration of students, however this is at the
responsible board's discretion and so far the Nurses Board has decided not to proceed with
student registration.
Some of the functions of responsible boards under this Act include approving courses of study
that provide qualifications; regulating the standards of practice; investigating professional
conduct, professional performance or the ability to practice; issuing and publishing codes for the
guidance of registered health care professionals as to standards recommended by the
responsible board relating to the provision of health services and professional performance; and
initiating, promoting, supporting, funding or participating in programmes that the responsible
board considers will improve health care professionals' ability to practise.
The Health Professions Act introduces revised definitions of 'professional misconduct' and
'unprofessional conduct' and introduces a common system for making complaints
('notifications'). This is covered under section 42 of this Act, and applies to registered students
as well as registered health care professionals. It provides that a person may notify the
responsible board of concerns in relation to the conduct, performance, health, behaviour or
character of a health care professional or a health care professional student.
Hearings may be held by professional standards panel or health panel appointed by the
relevant board on behalf of the responsible board following an investigation. The matter may
be referred to VCAT if it raises serious concerns about a health care professional's professional
performance, conduct or ability.

Statutory obligations of health care professionals
Some legislation imposes obligations on health care professionals.
A breach of statutory obligations usually imposes a fine, termed in penalty units. One penalty
unit is currently equivalent to $110.12.
Statutory fines are not covered by the VMIA's policy of insurance for public hospitals and as
such will be payable by the individual health care professional in breach of the law.106
The following are some examples of statutory obligations.
Road Safety Act 1986
Under the Road Safety Act 1986 if a patient over the age of 15 presents for treatment following
a motor vehicle accident, whether or not he or she was the driver, he or she must allow a
medical practitioner to perform a blood alcohol test.107 This is a circumstance where consent of
the patient is not required. The medical practitioner must report the results of these tests (with
or without the patient's consent).

 Note that this Act only authorises medical practitioners to take
blood samples, although a nurse may do so if he or she receives approval in writing from the
Director of the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine. This is an individual approval and the
Director must be of the opinion that the person has the appropriate qualifications, training and
experience to take the sample.
Health Act 1958
Section 127 of the Health Act 1958 requires that a registered medical practitioner must not
carry out or authorise the carrying out of a HIV test unless the registered medical practitioner
has given, or is satisfied that the person requesting the test has been given, information about
the medical and social consequences of the test. If the test is positive then that person must
not be advised of the results of the test except by and in the presence of a registered medical
practitioner or a person of a prescribed class.108
The penalty is 10 penalty units.

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