AHPRA's 2016/17 annual report reveals increased engagement with the profession by the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia

15 Nov 2017

The Chinese medicine health workforce grew by 2.1% over the past year, to 4,860 total registrants, according to data released today in the 2016/17 annual report published by AHPRA and the National Boards.

The annual report is a comprehensive record of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (the National Scheme) for the 12 months to 30 June 2017.

While Chinese medicine practitioners constitute a relatively small proportion of the 678,983 registrants currently in the National Scheme, the profession continues to grow year on year.

In order to protect the public, the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia (the Board) took a proactive approach to engaging with the profession this year.

‘A key focus for the Board during the year was to ensure practitioners are aware of their professional obligations under the National Law,’ said Professor Charlie Xue, Chair of the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia. ‘To that end, the Board published a series of quick reference guides, which provide concise, clear information for practitioners about safe Chinese herbal medicine practice.’

Minor amendments were also made to the key resource, the Nomenclature compendium of commonly used Chinese herbal medicines, and, following wide consultation, the Board published new guidelines for creating and maintaining health records. It also released a Position statement on endangered species and Chinese medicine in Australia.

More highlights for the year included the Board sending a delegation to China for the first time, and the establishment of the Chinese Medicine Reference Group (CMRG).

‘The CMRG is made up of individual practitioner members, community members, and representatives of professional associations and education institutions,’ said Professor Xue. ‘The purpose of the group is to promote a common understanding of the National Scheme, and to have members of both the community and profession share thoughts and give advice on policy and other matters.’

A snapshot of the profession

  • Easy to renew: This year saw the largest online registration renewal rate ever achieved across all 14 registered health professions – with over 98.5% of all registrants renewing online and on time (91.6% of Chinese medicine practitioners renewed online).
  • Increased registration year on year: The Chinese medicine practitioner registrant base continues to grow (to 4,860 individual registered practitioners in 2016/17; from 4,762 in 2015/16).
  • More students on the register: As at 30 June 2017, there were 1,515 Chinese medicine students, representing an increase of 14.9% from 2015/16 (1,318 students).
  • Accreditation: There are currently six programs of study available to those who wish to qualify as a Chinese medicine practitioner.
  • Complaints received about Chinese medicine practitioners: 36 notifications were received nationally about Chinese medicine practitioners, representing just 1.2% of the profession.
  • Of 34 matters closed, in 2016/17: 23.5% resulted in accepting an undertaking or conditions being imposed on the practitioner’s registration, 8.8% resulted in a caution or reprimand, and 67.6% resulted in no further action being taken.
  • Statutory offences by Chinese medicine practitioners: 72 new complaints were made this year relating to possible statutory offences by Chinese medicine practitioners. Over half of new matters related to advertising breaches, and the majority of the remaining matters related to title protection.
  • Active monitoring cases in 2016/17: 24 Chinese medicine practitioners were monitored during the year for health, performance and/or conduct.

The 2016/17 annual report provides a nationwide snapshot of the work of AHPRA and the Boards and highlights a multi-profession approach to risk-based regulation, with a clear focus on ensuring that Australians have a safe and competent health workforce.

‘There are now almost 680,000 registered health practitioners across Australia,’ said AHPRA CEO Mr Martin Fletcher. ‘This Annual Report highlights our strong and shared commitment with the Board to ensure the public has access to a competent, qualified registered health workforce and to take decisive action when required to keep the community safe.’

To view the 2016/17 annual report, along with supplementary tables that segment data across categories such as registrations, notifications, statutory offences, tribunals and appeals, and monitoring and compliance, visit the Annual Report microsite.

In the coming weeks, AHPRA and the National Boards will also publish summaries of our work regulating health practitioners in each of the 14 registered health professions. Jurisdictional reports, which present data on registered health practitioners in each state and territory, will be published in December.

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Page reviewed 15/11/2017