Chinese Medicine Board of Australia - November 2022
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Check if your health practitioner is qualified, registered and their current registration status

November 2022

Issue 28  November 2022

From the Chair

Prof Danforn Lim CMBA Chair

Welcome to the new look newsletter, we hope you enjoy the new format!

The Board has had a busy year. We have reviewed the Guidelines for safe Chinese medicine practice, which we expect to publish in early 2023. We have been developing an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) which we will be piloting in early 2023. The OSCE is expected to be administered to relevant practitioners who hold a non-approved qualification in mid-to-late 2023.

Registration renewal closes soon. This is a good time to check that you’re meeting your obligations under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law. Read below for information about professional indemnity insurance and to check if your advertising complies with the National Law.

The Board thanks all Chinese medicine practitioners for your dedication to the profession and the public in what continue to be challenging times. We hope that you are taking care of yourselves and your colleagues.

Adjunct Professor Danforn Lim

Chair, Chinese Medicine Board of Australia

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Priority news

Online registration renewal is open – apply now and avoid late fees

Chinese medicine practitioners have until 30 November 2022 to renew their general or non-practising registration on time. Renewing on time means you’ll avoid late fees which apply after 30 November 2022.

Look out for an email from Ahpra providing access to online renewal.

Read more in the news item.

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Board news

Professional indemnity insurance – make sure you’re covered!

Now is a good time to review your professional indemnity insurance (PII) arrangements to make sure that you are compliant with the registration standard. This is something all registered practitioners should do annually.

To practise as a Chinese medicine practitioner, you must hold appropriate PII – it’s a requirement of the National Law, it’s a requirement of the registration standard, and it’s an important part of keeping the public safe.

When you renew your registration, you’ll need to declare you hold PII. Before you make this declaration, the Board suggests you:

  • Check your PII coverage – is it current?
  • Make sure you’ve arranged for appropriate ‘run-off’ cover for when you stop or if you choose to pause your practice.
  • Set yourself a reminder for when your policy is due to be renewed.
  • If you’ve changed your credit card or bank details, or your email address or phone number, check in with your provider to make sure they have your up-to-date details.

Graduates, be sure to get your PII sorted out before you start practising.

Chinese herbal dispensers, make sure you have PII; having products liability insurance alone does not meet the registration standard.

Registered practitioners working as a volunteer or in an unpaid position are still required to have appropriate PII arrangements in place.

What if you find out you’re not appropriately covered?

Note that if you have a gap in PII and fail to notify Ahpra at the time but instead declare the gap later, you will have failed to comply with your obligations under the National Law.

If you are uncertain about the PII you need, seek professional advice from your employer, professional or industrial association, insurance broker or legal advisor.

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Reminder to check your advertising: does it comply with the National Law?

Responsible advertising about regulated health services helps to keep the public safe from false or misleading claims as well as helping the public to make informed choices about their healthcare.

The majority of Chinese medicine practitioners do advertise responsibly and now is a good time to check your advertising. Does it comply with advertising requirements of the National Law?

What does the National Law say about advertising?

Under the National Law, a regulated health service or a business providing a regulated health service must not advertise in a way that:

  • is false, misleading or deceptive
  • uses gifts, discounts or inducements without explaining the terms and conditions of the offer
  • uses a testimonial or purported testimonial
  • creates an unreasonable expectation of beneficial treatment, and/or
  • directly or indirectly encourages the indiscriminate or unnecessary use of regulated health services.

Declaring advertising when renewing

When applying to renew their registration, registered Chinese medicine practitioners are asked to declare that, if they advertise, their advertising meets the advertising requirements of the National Law.

Ahpra began proactive auditing of compliance in 2020, in line with the complaints-driven approach. Non-compliant advertising will be addressed under the Advertising Compliance and Enforcement Strategy.

Resources to help you

Familiarise yourself with the Guidelines for advertising a regulated health service which are available to help practitioners and other advertisers understand your obligations when advertising a regulated health service.

Have a look at the Advertising hub on the Ahpra website for other resources to help the public, practitioners and other advertisers understand the advertising requirements of the National Law. These include examples, frequently asked questions and additional information about acceptable evidence and testimonials.

The Board also developed profession-specific examples as an additional resource to help Chinese medicine practitioners check their advertising complies with the National Law.

Need more advice?

If you need advice about whether your advertising complies with the National Law, you may wish to seek this from your professional association, an independent legal adviser or indemnity insurer.

Ahpra and the National Boards cannot give advice or an opinion about advertising and cannot check or pre-approve advertising to see if it complies with the National Law and the advertising guidelines. This is because as statutory regulators our role is to enforce the law, not to provide legal advice to advertisers about how to advertise.

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Students and graduates

Graduates – apply for registration now!

Chinese medicine graduates set to complete their course this year can take the first step in their new career by applying for registration now. Applying before you finish your studies means we can start assessing your application while we wait for your graduate results.

You’ll find helpful advice, tips for avoiding common causes of delay and downloadable information flyers on the Graduate applications page of the Ahpra website. On that page, you can watch a video, Applying for graduate registration, and print or save the accompanying flyer, Quick guide: how to apply.

How do I apply for registration in a new division?

If you’re already registered in one division and want to register in another division, you must apply for registration using the relevant application form available on the Forms page of the Board’s website.

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Meet your Board

Ms Bing Tian, practitioner member from the Australian Capital Territory

Bing Tian CMBA member

Bing Tian is a practitioner member and the Chair of the Board’s Registration and Notifications Committee. She lives in Canberra, on the Country of the Ngunnawal, Ngunawal, and Ngambri peoples.

What is your experience and background, Bing?

I am a registered Chinese medicine practitioner in the three divisions of Chinese medicine registration: Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and Chinese herbal dispenser. I hold a Bachelor of Chinese Medicine and a Master of Acupuncture and Tuina, from Liaoning University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in China.

I’ve been practising Chinese medicine for over 20 years. I have also been a Chinese medicine teacher at Canberra Institute of Technology, and President of the ACT branch of the Chinese Medicine Association.

I’ve held registration as a Chinese medicine practitioner since 2012, when the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia was established. My registration in the National Scheme has helped build my wide connections and collaboration with peers in other regulated health professions. In turn, this has boosted the benefits I could deliver to my patients and my profession.

I currently work in a clinical practice serving patients, with multiple practitioners and other colleagues. There, I have led the improvement of practitioners’ patient records, quality assurance, and continuing professional development.

What attracted you to the role on the Board?

I would like to contribute to the Board bringing the highest levels of governance to its regulation of the Chinese medicine profession in Australia.

The Board is well-placed to cultivate optimal growth in the profession’s safety and professionalism, throughout the country.

What are you passionate about?

The fundamental influences on me, as a Chinese medicine practitioner, are from my father, who is a very well-recognised senior medical practitioner in China.

My wish is to use my knowledge to treat people. I strive to offer my communities the highest standards of Chinese medicine practice.

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Registration news

Latest workforce data released

The Board has released its quarterly registration report to 30 June 2022. At this date, there were 4,839 registered practitioners: 4,496 with general registration, 12 with both general and non-practising registration, 330 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.

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Extension of temporary acceptance of additional English language tests for registration applicants

National Boards are accepting the TOEFL iBT® Home Edition test for applications received until 21 February 2023.

COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns have disrupted many English language tests and made it difficult for some applicants to use the English language test pathway to meet National Boards’ English language skills registration standards.

In response, earlier this year the National Boards established a temporary policy accepting the following additional language tests for a limited time:

  • the OET computer-based test and the OET@home test for applications received until 21 February 2023, and
  • the TOEFL iBT® Home Edition for applications received until 1 June 2022.

National Boards have now updated this temporary policy which means that, along with the OET computer based and OET@home tests, the TOEFL iBT® Home Edition will also be accepted, for applications received until 21 February 2023.

All other requirements set out in the National Board’s English language skills registration standard still apply. There are no changes to any other requirements in the standards, including minimum test scores.

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What's new?

Landmark public protection reform bill passes into law

The widest-ranging reform to health practitioner regulation since the National Scheme was established in 2010, has now passed into law.

While some of the changes have already come into place, the majority have a delayed start, allowing Ahpra and the National Boards time to implement the reforms.

Some of the significant changes that have already started include a new paramount principle that puts public safety at the centre of regulatory decision-making and a new guiding principle and objective that embeds cultural safety into the National Law.

Next year will see new powers to strengthen public protection while maintaining fairness for practitioners come into effect. These reforms include:

  • a new power to issue interim prohibition orders against unregistered practitioners, which means Ahpra and National Boards can stop significant harm occurring while the most serious matters are investigated, and
  • the power to issue public statements to warn the public about serious risks posed by people, including registered practitioners, who are the subject of investigations or disciplinary proceedings.

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Using data to protect the public – have your say on Ahpra’s draft Data strategy

We hold, publish and share data about all registered health practitioners in Australia, including through the public register of health practitioners.

Public consultation on a draft Data strategy is now open. Ahpra is inviting feedback from health practitioners on the future uses of the data we collect and hold, including about three focus areas:

  • the public register of health practitioners
  • data sharing, and
  • advanced analytics.

We want to know what you think about including additional information about you and your practice on the public register. We’re also seeking your views on publishing practitioners’ disciplinary history on the public register.

We’re interested in sharing some of the data we hold (where legally allowed and while protecting privacy and confidentiality) to help protect the public, improve access to health services and contribute to patient safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. We want to hear from you about how we can share, or receive, data to benefit health practitioners and the public.

In addition, we’re consulting on using new data technologies ethically and safely to help make our regulatory work more efficient and effective and streamline practitioners’ interactions with us.

The consultation is open until 31 January 2023. We encourage you to have your say on how we use and share the data we hold about you, where lawful, to protect the public.

To learn more or to make a submission, read the consultation paper and information for practitioners on the Ahpra website.

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Latest podcasts – listen up!

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. Recent episodes include:

  • the inextricable link between climate change and healthcare
  • the unique world of rural and remote healthcare
  • accessing safe healthcare when cost is an issue
  • openness and candour – a road to greater patient safety.

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

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National Scheme news

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

National Scheme news banner graphic

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: Adjunct Professor Danforn Lim, Chair, Chinese Medicine Board of Australia, GPO Box 9958, Melbourne VIC 3001.

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Page reviewed 9/12/2022