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The submission is made to the exposure draft of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law 2009.(the draft Bill) The exposure draft sets out the legal framework for the new National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for the Health Professions, which is scheduled to begin on 1 July 2010.
PIAC’s submission raises concerns about the lack of consultation with the general public consumer groups and other stakeholders about all of the details of the draft Bill and the national registration of health professionals generally.
The submission identifies positive aspects of the draft Bill, namely:
- The acceptance of verbal complaints.
- The requirement for written reasons when a complaint is rejected.
- The change from the earlier proposal to refer to ‘notifications’ rather than ‘complaints’.
PIAC also raises the following concerns about the draft Bill:
- The lack of reference to the positive benefits of an open complaints process in the objectives and guiding principles clause of the draft Bill.
- The failure of the draft Bill to provide for consumer initiated merit reviews.
- The lack of openness and transparency of Professional Standards Panels.
- The lack of sanctions against intimidation of complainants in the draft Bill.
- The section referring to advertising of medical services does not reflect best practice in the existing state and territory legislation.
- The disparity in the proposed regulatory regime resulting from the fact that the draft Bill does not cover non-registered health practitioners.
- The failure of the draft Bill to mention or utilise the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights.
- Concerns about the power to grant limited registration in certain circumstances.
- Concern that the definition of ‘criminal history’ includes situations where a Court has not recorded a conviction.