11 May 2012
Feedback regarding the Code of Conduct, Advertising Guidelines and Mandatory Notifications Guidelines.
In November 2011 the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia (the CMBA) released a consultation paper on three codes and guidelines that were common to the all national boards that are part of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme and a guideline on patient records. Twenty-four submissions received related to one or all of these guidelines. Those for publication are now available here
The consultation paper sought feedback on:
Addressing issues like providing good care, effective communication, confidentiality and privacy, informed consent, adverse events and open disclosure, maintaining professional boundaries, health records, conflicts of interest, and financial and commercial dealings.
One change was proposed and specific questions put to elicit feedback.
All submitters agreed with the proposed change with additional suggestions offered. As the common code is to be scheduled for a AHPRA-wide review in late 2012 or 2013 these additional suggestions will be provided to AHPRA at that time.
2. Guidelines on mandatory notifications
These guidelines explain the situations when a health practitioner or their employer must notify the Board through the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) about a registered health practitioner’s misconduct. There are four types of misconduct: intoxication, sexual misconduct, impairment, and significantly departing from accepted professional standards.
No changes were proposed.
There was very strong support for this guideline.
3. Guidelines on Advertising
This includes what is acceptable advertising, such as factual statements about the services a profession provides. The Guidelines also define what is unacceptable, such as not disclosing risks associated with a treatment. The Guidelines clarify the acceptable use in advertising of titles, warning statements, advertising of price and how to complain about a breach of the Guidelines.
The CMBA proposed the following change.That the psychology-specific section on page 6 which reads as follows:
The Psychology Board of Australia has developed specific advice for its profession. It advises registered psychologists that use of the title ‘doctor’ in their practice has the potential to mislead members of the public. Specifically, patients or clients may be misled into believing that the practitioner is a psychiatrist when they are not. Therefore, registered psychologists may not use such a title unless they hold a doctoral qualification from an approved higher education provider as listed in Part 2-1 Division 16 of the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (Cwlth) or an overseas institution with an equivalent accreditation status. Where a registered psychologist holds a doctoral qualification that meets the above standard, if they advertise their services to the public, they should make it clear when using the title ‘doctor’ that they are not a registered medical practitioner or psychiatrist, for example:
be replaced with the following section which is a specific concern in Chinese medicine:
In Australia and New Zealand, the titles ‘Professor’ and ‘Associate Professor’ are used by academics and can only be used by an individual while that person is currently employed by the conferring higher education institution in that role. The right to use the title is extinguished on resignation or retirement from the institution. The exception is an Emeritus Professor who may use that title for life. In Australia the use of the title ‘Professor” or “Associate Professor’ directly implies that the person is currently employed in that role in an Australian University. Chinese Medicine practitioners who hold current ‘Visiting Professor”, “Adjunct Professor”, “Distinguished Professor” or “Honorary Professor’ status at an institution, should not mislead the public by omitting the word ‘Visiting’ or ‘Honorary’ from their use of the title.
It is the practitioner’s responsibility to determine whether or not s/he can fairly carry the title without misleading the public. When using the title 'Professor' in advertising the name of the institution conferring the title should be included in order to fully inform the reader. Should the Board have reservations about an individual's legitimacy in carrying any title, it has the authority to investigate.
There was strong support for the proposed. It was also suggested that the paragraph specific to psychology should be left in for consistency, which has been implemented.