The Council, a panel, tribunal or court can be declared an adjudication body for the purposes of the Law.
Parameters around appropriate and effective interactions between health professionals and their patients are professional boundaries. Behaviours that damage or exploit patients constitute boundary violation. This includes both sexual and non-sexual misconduct.
- A Council may recommend the cancellation of a practitioner’s registration to the Tribunal Chair if the practitioner does not have sufficient physical and mental capacity to practise the profession
- A Council may recommend the cancellation of a student’s registration if the student has an impairment
- The Tribunal may order the cancellation of a practitioner’s or student’s registration if it is satisfied that the practitioner is not competent to practise or is guilty of professional misconduct, or if the practitioner/student is unfit in the public interest to practise/to undertake clinical training or is not a suitable person for registration in the profession
- The Tribunal must cancel a practitioner’s or student’s registration if he/she has contravened a critical compliance order.
A caution is a formal warning intended to act as a deterrent to a practitioner not to repeat conduct. This is a less serious outcome than a reprimand.
A complaint is closed when a final outcome/decision has been determined by the Council or other decision-making entity under the Law, such as a Tribunal, Professional Standards Committee, Performance Review Panel or Court. This decision disposes of the matter.
A person who makes a complaint to a health complaint entity:
- A health professional Council of NSW
- Health Professional Councils Authority (HPCA)
- Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC)
- Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).
The Council may refer a complaint to the HCCC for conciliation, whereby the parties involved can negotiate a resolution.
A condition aims to restrict a practitioner’s practice in some way or may relate to the management of the practitioner’s health, to protect the public. Conditions on practice are displayed on the public register maintained by AHPRA.
Immediate Action (Section 150)
If a Council is satisfied that a practitioner or student poses an imminent risk to public safety the Council must take immediate action and may suspend registration or impose conditions on registration pending further investigation.
A notification can be either voluntary or a mandatory notification. A voluntary notification is about behaviour which presents a risk but is not as serious as a mandatory notification.
Notifiable Conduct / Mandatory Reporting
Notifiable conduct includes practising whilst intoxicated, engaging in sexual misconduct in connection with professional practice, placing the public at risk of substantial harm due to an impairment or a significant departure from accepted professional standards.
A complaint remains open until such time as a final outcome/decision has been determined by the Council or other decision-making entity under the Law, such as a Tribunal, Professional Standards Committee, Performance Review Panel or Court. This decision disposes of the matter.
An order is a decision, condition or restriction placed on a practitioner’s registration or practice.
Unsatisfactory professional conduct of a sufficiently serious nature to justify suspension or cancellation of the practitioner’s registration.
A reprimand is a formal rebuke or chastisement for inappropriate and unacceptable conduct and appears on a practitioner’s registration.
Conduct: behaviour by a practitioner that may be categorised as professional misconduct or unsatisfactory professional conduct.
Performance: professional performance that is considered unsatisfactory because it is below the standard reasonably expected of a practitioner of an equivalent level of training or experience.
Health: a practitioner who may have a physical or mental impairment, disability, condition or disorder that detrimentally affects, or is likely to detrimentally affect their capacity to practise their profession.
Supervision is the performing of one’s duties or practice under the supervision of another similarly qualified practitioner.
- A Council may suspend a practitioner’s registration for an interim period if it determines that immediate action is required to protect the health or safety of any person(s) or the action is in the public interest
- With the voluntary agreement of the practitioner or student, a Council may suspend registration if recommended by an Impaired Registrants Panel
- A Council may recommend the suspension of a practitioner’s registration to the Tribunal Chair if the practitioner does not have sufficient physical and mental capacity to practise the profession. It may recommend the suspension of a student’s registration if the student has an impairment
- The Tribunal may order the suspension of a practitioner’s or student’s registration if it is satisfied that the practitioner is not competent to practise or is guilty of professional misconduct, or if the practitioner / student is unfit in the public interest to practise / to undertake clinical training or is not a suitable person for registration in the profession.
Unsatisfactory Professional Conduct
Conduct which is:
- significantly below reasonable standards
- in contravention of the Law or regulations
- in contravention of conditions of registration
- failure to comply with order/decision of a Professional Standards Committee or Tribunal
- accepting or offering a benefit for referral or recommendation to a health service provider or a health product
- engaging in over servicing
- failure to disclose pecuniary interest in giving a referral or recommendation
- permitting assistants not registered in the profession to provide services requiring professional discretion or skill, or
- other unethical or improper behaviour.
Additional matters apply to medical practitioners and pharmacists.