Chinese Medicine Board of Australia - May 2023
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May 2023

Issue 29  May 2023

From the Chair

Prof Danforn Lim CMBA Chair

The Board extends a warm welcome to our new Chinese medicine graduates. You are an important part of the profession, and we look forward to engaging with you. In this newsletter, we have highlighted the shared Code of conduct and provide tips on how you can familiarise yourself with this important document.

In February, we held a joint meeting with various professional associations to strengthen ties with our stakeholders. We also held our annual planning day in March with our regulatory committee members. Read more about these meetings below.

Finally, I am pleased to advise that Stephanie Campbell, community member from New South Wales, has been reappointed to the Board for a second term. You can read more about Stephanie in our July 2022 newsletter.

Adjunct Professor Danforn Lim

Chair, Chinese Medicine Board of Australia

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Priority news

Your professional obligations throughout the year

Another successful registration renewal period closed in December. Thanks to everyone who renewed on time and especially to those who got in early. While renewal is an annual reminder, it’s important to know that under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, you have obligations throughout the year.

In addition to renewing your registration every year, the following professional obligations apply to all registered health practitioners. These include to:

There are some obligations that hopefully won’t apply to you, but it’s important to know about them in case they do. These are to:

  • make a mandatory notification (required in some limited circumstances)
  • notify Ahpra in writing within seven days if you’re charged with an offence punishable by 12 months’ jail or more, or if you have been convicted of or are the subject of a finding of guilt for an offence punishable by any term of imprisonment.

There are forms to use when making these declarations – for more information see Ahpra’s Common forms webpage.

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Board news

Call for applications: registered Chinese medicine practitioner examiners for OSCE

The Chinese Medicine Board of Australia is calling for applications for appointment to the List of examiners for the Board’s Objective structured clinical examination (OSCE).

OSCE examiners are vital in providing a reliable and fair assessment process. Examiners will use their professional knowledge of the nature and culture of the profession to test candidate knowledge and proficiency in an exam setting. 

For more information, including eligibility requirements and an application form, see the news item.

Applications close 5.00pm AEST on Friday 2 June 2023.

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Meeting with professional associations

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In February 2023, the Board held a joint meeting with professional associations. We consider regular information exchange with professional associations an essential component of our communication and engagement strategy. We expect that such meetings will further strengthen constructive relationships with our key stakeholders to help the Board achieve its regulatory outcomes in an engaging, effective and efficient manner. 

You can read more in our communiqué.

Annual planning meeting

The Board held its annual planning day in March this year. We welcomed our committee members who joined us as we reviewed our work to date and planned our regulatory priorities for the next year. Important discussions were held on our regulatory priorities to inform our workplan and communications plan for the coming year. We look forward to completing several projects in the coming 12 months.

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New-look website homepage

You may have already seen the refreshed design of our website homepage, which went live in February. The vibrant colour and images are designed to make the homepage more engaging, and dropdown menus at the top of each page should make it easier for people to find what they’re looking for. Any links you had bookmarked will continue to work because all addresses for webpages, documents and forms remain the same.

Your thoughts on this change are important and feedback is welcome. Please tell us what you think via this quick survey

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New Easy English information about the shared Code of conduct

New Easy English information about the shared Code of conduct is now available. This easier to understand information will help people in the community who find it hard to read and understand English know what standards of conduct they can expect from a Chinese medicine practitioner.

The shared Code of conduct applies to Chinese medicine practitioners and was updated last year to improve patient safety. As well as being a guiding document for health practitioners, the code is an important document for the public. The code outlines what the public can expect when they see a registered Chinese medicine practitioner, including information about respect, culturally safe care, privacy and confidentiality, and communication.

The new Easy English information is on the Board’s website along with other resources for the public.

As well as resources for the public, there are resources to help practitioners understand and apply the code. These resources include FAQs and case studies.

For more information you can visit the Board’s Code of conduct page.

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Meet your Board

Image of a manLuke Hubbard, practitioner member from Western Australia

Luke Hubbard is a practitioner from Western Australia. Luke has lived in Whajjak Noongar country/Perth Western Australia for the last 11 years and is originally from Dhauwurd Wurrung or Gunditjmara country around Warrnambool in Victoria.

What is your experience and background, Luke?

I am a highly experienced Chinese medicine practitioner and senior clinical nurse. I have lectured and spoken for numerous organisations and health initiatives both here and back in Victoria. The bulk of my experience lies in pain management for conditions unresponsive to conventional treatments. For the past 20 years I have run my own business incorporating medical acupuncturists, Chinese pharmacology, physical therapists, chiropractors and psychologists under one roof for conditions of the nervous and muscular-skeletal system. I have built clinics in Victoria and WA, which I still manage today.

Working in a multidisciplinary setting and running a business make me fundamentally aware of the importance of saving resources while still achieving the best possible outcome for my patients. I have been a lecturer in biomedical sciences at Endeavour College where I lectured in systemic pathology, pharmacology/toxicology, Western medical diagnosis, laboratory diagnosis, clinical examination, anatomy and physiology, and was Clinical Coordinator for Chinese medicine.

What attracted you to the role on the Board?

I was attracted to the Board because I believe by regulating effectively, maintaining educational standards, and promoting the advantages of a regulated practitioner, we can maintain professional standards and public confidence. Specifically, for Chinese medicine I believe by working with the Board we can promote Chinese medicine’s safety and help develop its place in the contemporary Australian healthcare landscape.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about empowering the public to reach their own healthcare goals, achieving functionality and good health.

Students and graduates

Where to start? Try the Code of conduct

Welcome to all new Chinese medicine graduates!

When you’re just getting started it may seem like there is a lot of information to get your head around. Knowing where to begin can be daunting.

With this in mind, we want to highlight and encourage you to familiarise yourself with the profession’s shared Code of conduct. The code is an important document. It provides guidance about expected standards for practitioner behaviour and conduct. In defining these expectations, it helps to keep the public safe by supporting good patient care and delivery of services.

Download the Code of conduct and read the Resources to help practitioners including helpful FAQs.

Watch our welcome video!

You can also watch an informative video presented by Board members, which welcomes you to the profession and outlines the things you need to know as you set out on your new career. The video is on our website homepage.

Registration news

Latest workforce data released

The Board has released its quarterly registration report to 31 March 2023. At this date, there were 4,788 registered practitioners: 4,425 with general registration, 11 with both general and non-practising registration, 331 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.

Additional English language tests for registration applicants

 The Board has agreed to accept additional English language tests to provide further flexibility to people applying for registration. The tests are:

  • OET Computer Based Test (CBT)
  • IELTS One Skill Retake (OSR).

Applicants for registration should visit the test provider’s website directly to find out more about these tests. Information about test providers is available on the Ahpra website.

All other requirements set out in the Board’s English language skills registration standard still apply.

What's new?

Public protection is the focus of new National Law reforms

Public protection is at the forefront in the latest round of reforms to the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law.

The changes started on 15 May, in all states and territories except Western Australia.

Better protecting the public from serious risk

One significant change gives Ahpra and the National Boards a new power to issue a public statement to warn the public about a serious risk from an individual – either a registered health practitioner or a person who does not hold registration but is providing a health service. Issuing a public statement means we can warn the public about a serious risk at an early stage, while we continue to investigate. There is a high threshold that must be met to use the power, which we anticipate will be used sparingly and only in exceptional cases to better protect the public.

Read more about the reforms in the public statements warnings FAQs.

Improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the National Scheme

Other changes will help us improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the National Scheme and help create a fairer system. These changes include:

  • an update to our complaints process which introduces the ability to compel practitioners to provide information at an earlier point in the assessment process. This will mean we can deal with complaints more efficiently and improve the experience for both the notifier and the practitioner
  • more suitable options for National Boards to respond to practitioners who continue to practise after their registration has lapsed, and
  • improved information-sharing abilities for National Boards with relevant parties such as registered practitioners’ former employers, when necessary to alert them to potential harm to the public.

More information

Some of the changes do not apply in NSW, because of differences in how concerns are managed in that state. For example, the power to issue a public statement and the power to require information at an earlier point in the assessment process are already held by the Health Care Complaints Commission. Read more about the NSW regulators.

The changes are the latest in a wide range of reforms outlined in the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2022, which came into law last October.

For more information, read the news item about the National Law reforms and see the resources on the Ahpra National Law amendments webpage.

TGA fact sheet for practitioners: patient information materials on medical devices

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has published a fact sheet for health professionals on medical device patient information materials. It provides an overview of:

  • the different types of patient information materials (patient information leaflets and patient implant cards)
  • when patient information must be supplied
  • how to meet the mandatory requirements for patient information, and
  • best practice requirements for patient information.

You can find the fact sheet on the TGA website.

New support team to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander practitioners with their registration

Ahpra has recently established a new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement and Support team to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants, registrants and stakeholders through the registration process.

The support team is part of Ahpra’s commitments to provide culturally safe services to its applicants, registrants and stakeholders.

Who is it for?

The support team will focus on helping recent applicants and new graduates who have identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander on their application form. This applies to applicants across all 16 registered professions in the National Scheme.

The team’s one-on-one services range from providing helpful tips and tricks for navigating the registration process to regular phone contact, updates and advice on disclosures made on application (for example, impairments or previous criminal history) that may require consideration by the National Board.

What to expect?

The support team is committed to ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander practitioners in all professions get registered or renewed promptly so they can focus on their contributions to safe healthcare and to their communities. Keep an eye out for regular emails from the team or reach out for help at [email protected].

Members of the team will be attending community events and health practitioner conferences.

If you are a student, contact your Indigenous Student Support unit at your tertiary provider for information.

How do we prevent trust violation in healthcare? And how do we tackle racism?

International guest Professor Rosalind Searle unpacks the impacts on patients when trust isn’t prioritised

Building trust is fundamental to safe healthcare, as is responding effectively when a practitioner breaches that core responsibility to a patient. In Ahpra’s Taking care podcast we look at Building trust in healthcare, how do we keep it, and how can patients be better supported if things go wrong?

Rosalind Searle is a Professor of Human Resource Management and Organisational Psychology at the Adam Smith Business School at the University of Glasgow. She is inaugural director of the European Association of Work and Organisational Psychology (EAWOP) Impact Incubator.

Pointing to examples in Australia, Professor Searle provides a guide for strengthening processes and support mechanisms to boost trust in healthcare.

Indigenous leader Associate Professor Carmen Parter takes on racism in healthcare

Another recent podcast is Racism makes us sick, with Associate Professor Carmen Parter discussing the impact of racism in healthcare. She points to her nursing days when there were almost no Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander faces seen working on the hospital ward and very little time given to the health needs of Indigenous people.

She talks about the cultural safety work being done and the challenges to make these policies a reality in our healthcare system.

Assoc. Prof. Parter has also seen intentional and unintentional racism in the system, which she is committed to helping reform.

'Racism makes us sick. Discrimination of all forms impacts the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,’ she said.

'We've seen it. We’ve felt it. But now we actually have evidence to demonstrate that is the case, and it is now time for health policymakers and services to actually do something about discrimination or prejudiced practices in the workplace.’

In her work on Indigenous health and as a member of the Ahpra Board, Assoc. Prof. Parter is rolling out culturally safe policies across health and calling for all to walk with her while tackling racism.

More podcasts available

Our Taking care podcast series covers a wide range of current issues in patient safety and healthcare in conversation with health experts and other people in our community. We also publish transcripts of our podcasts.

Listen and subscribe by searching for 'Taking care' in your podcast player (for example Apple Podcasts or Spotify) or listen on our website.

National Scheme news

Click on the image below to read the National Scheme newsletter. Our next edition is coming soon, and you can subscribe on the newsletter page.

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Stay 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 9135 3010 (for overseas callers).
  • Address mail correspondence to: Adjunct Professor Danforn Lim, Chair, Chinese Medicine Board of Australia, GPO Box 9958, Melbourne VIC 3001.

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Page reviewed 14/11/2023