Chinese Medicine Board of Australia - May 2022
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May 2022

Issue 26

From the Chair

Prof Danforn Lim CMBA Chair

Welcome to our first newsletter for 2022. Since our last edition we have seen the easing of COVID-19 restrictions across all jurisdictions in Australia and a cautious return to normality.

In this newsletter the Board extends a warm welcome to our new Chinese medicine graduates and we wish you all the best as your start your careers in the profession. We also remind practitioners about the importance of professional indemnity insurance in keeping both practitioner and the public safe.

The Board held its annual planning day in February this year. This meeting was held online again due to COVID-19 restrictions, and we reviewed our work to date and planned our regulatory priorities for the next year. We also refreshed the membership of our committees, and welcomed new members to the Policy, Planning and Communication Committee and to the Registration and Notifications Committee.

Adjunct Professor Danforn Lim

Chair, Chinese Medicine Board of Australia

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Board news

Professional indemnity insurance – what you need to know

Recent audits have shown some practitioners are unaware of the requirements of the Board’s Registration standard: professional indemnity insurance arrangements (PII). This is especially true of practitioners who are registered solely as a Chinese herbal dispenser.

When practising as a Chinese medicine practitioner you must be covered by individual or third-party PII arrangements that meet this standard. You are responsible for ensuring you are covered and should make your own enquiries of employers or third parties to ensure the PII arrangements in place meet the registration standard.

If you are registered solely as Chinese herbal dispenser, product liability insurance is not enough to meet the Board’s registration standard. You must have personal indemnity insurance in addition to product liability insurance.

If you don’t have appropriate PII, the Board may take disciplinary action or refuse to renew your registration.

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Watch our virtual webinar roadshow

The Board’s virtual roadshow held on 16 December 2021 is now available on our website.

Watch our Board Chair, Adjunct Professor Danforn Lim, and Board members provide an update on Chinese medicine policy issues and trends in notifications and outline a case study illustrating the notification process.

The session was followed by an engaging Q&A session and we have published FAQs in response to questions that we didn’t have time for during the Q&A.

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Review of patient health records guidelines

The Board has started work on a review of its patient health records guidelines, which were last reviewed in 2016.

At this stage, we are doing preliminary work to look at the requirements for practitioners and whether these guidelines continue to be fit for purpose. Any review will include an opportunity for practitioners to comment on proposed changes. We will notify you when public consultation on these guidelines opens later in the year.

Advance copy: revised Code of conduct

The Chinese Medicine Board of Australia is one of the 12 National Boards that have published an advance copy of the revised shared Code of conduct. We encourage practitioners to familiarise themselves with the new code before it comes into effect on 29 June 2022.

More information is available in the news item on the Board’s website.

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Latest workforce data released

The Board’s latest quarterly registration data has been released. The report covers 1 October to 31 December 2021. At this date, there were 4,931 registered practitioners: 4,551 with general registration, 31 with both general and non-practising registration, 348 non-practising registrants and one practitioner with limited registration.

For more details, including registration data by principal place of practice, age and gender, visit our Statistics page.

Students and graduates

Welcome to the profession

We welcome all new Chinese medicine graduates and invite you to watch our recently updated Welcome to the Chinese medicine profession video on our Registration page.

You’ll hear from the Chair of the Board, two practitioner members and a community Board member.

The video covers the codes, standards, and guidelines that you’re expected to meet as a registered practitioner, the role of the Board, the importance of ongoing professional development and how to stay in touch with the Board and the profession.

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National Scheme news

What’s the point of protected titles?

Recently, there’s been some debate about protected titles and how they work to protect the public. Ahpra and the National Boards provide the following guidance to help inform the discussion.

What is a protected title?

In Australia, the titles of registered health professions are 'protected' by law. This is important because they can act as a sort of shorthand for patients and consumers. When someone uses a protected title (for example, ‘acupuncturist'), you can expect that person is appropriately trained and qualified in that profession, registered, and that they are expected to meet safe and professional standards of practice

The protected titles under the National Law can be accessed on the Ahpra FAQs page.

Health Ministers have consulted on whether ‘surgeon’ should be a protected title under the National Law, and in what specialties it should apply, or if other changes should be made to help the public better understand the qualifications of medical practitioners. They are now considering the submissions. For more information on the consultation, visit the Engage Victoria website.

Read the news item for more details on this topic.

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Senate Committee tables its report

The Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee has tabled its report on the inquiry into the Administration of registration and notifications by Ahpra and related entities under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law.

Ahpra and National Boards actively engaged with the inquiry, with representatives of Ahpra, the Agency Management Committee and Community Reference Group all appearing. There were public submissions and stakeholder appearances.

We will consider the recommendations directed to Ahpra and National Boards and contribute to the Australian Government response, as requested.

The report is available on the Inquiry web page.

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New podcasts tackle big subjects

Ahpra releases fortnightly episodes of the Taking care podcast, discussing current topics and the latest issues affecting safe healthcare in Australia. You can access these on the Ahpra website or listen and subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and by searching ‘Taking care’ in your podcast player. Latest episodes include:

Health practitioners’ role in eliminating family violence – a survivor’s story

The first episode of Taking care for 2022 is a powerful and honest conversation about family violence and the role of health practitioners in helping survivors.

Tackling the blame culture to improve patient safety – is it possible?

What is the best approach to support a practitioner’s professional practice to ensure patient safety? How do we regulate when honest errors occur in a workplace environment?

What needs to change to make cosmetic surgery safer for patients?

A consumer shares her good and bad surgery experiences, and consumer advocates Maddison Johnstone and Michael Fraser join CHOICE CEO Alan Kirkland to share some of the red flags for consumers and contemplate what a safer system could look like.

Alan Kirkland is on a panel for the independent review into cosmetic surgery commissioned by Ahpra and the Medical Board of Australia. More information about the review is on the Ahpra website.

Two voices from LGBTIQA+ communities

In this episode, we hear stories of people in LGBTIQA+ communities and their experiences and challenges accessing healthcare. They offer their advice for others experiencing the same and about what practitioners can do to better support these communities.

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Keep in touch with the Board

  • Visit the Chinese Medicine Board website for news about the profession, information on the National Scheme and for registration standards, codes, guidelines, policies and fact sheets.
  • Lodge an online enquiry form.
  • For registration enquiries call 1300 419 495 (from within Australia) or +61 3 9285 3010 (for overseas callers).
  • Address mail correspondence to: Sylvia Sanders, Executive Officer, Chinese Medicine Board of Australia, GPO Box 9958, Melbourne VIC 3001.

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Page reviewed 14/11/2023