Health Professions Registration Act 2005
In October 2002, the Department of Human Services commenced a review of the system of regulation of Victoria's registered health professions. A detailed discussion paper was released in October 2003, and 116 submissions were received. Following analysis of the submissions, an options paper was released in April 2005, presenting a range of options for structural and legislative reform. After a final round of consultation with stakeholders, the proposed reforms were finalised.
The Health Professions Registration Act 2005 was passed by the Victorian Parliament on 23 November 2005, and received Royal Assent on 7 December 2005. It came into operation on 1 July 2007 and repealed the eleven separate health practitioner registration Acts previously in operation (and section 108AL of the Health Act 1958 relating to medical radiation practitioners).
A copy of the Act may be accessed at the Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Documents Website
The Act applies to the twelve health professions regulated in Victoria. Its key features include:
- The continuation of the 11 existing health practitioner registration boards, and establishment of a new Medical Radiation Practitioners Board of Victoria to replace the departmental Medical Radiation Technologists Board.
- Strengthened powers for the Minister to:
- Approve board issued codes and guidelines prior to their release, where these guidelines address qualifications requirements for registration, supervision arrangements and matters of scope of practice (s.119(2) of the Act).
- Appoint up to half the members of boards from non-practitioners (s.120).
- Appoint non-practitioners to office-bearing positions, but only where it is considered necessary for the good operation of the board (s.123(2)).
- Approve changes to qualifications requirements for registration that may have a substantial and adverse impact on the recruitment or supply of health practitioners to the workforce (ss.5(2), 5(3) and 5(4)).
- Updated complaints handling and disciplinary processes, to improve accountability and flexibility.
- The transfer of responsibility for the conduct of formal hearings into matters of serious unprofessional conduct from the boards to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
- New rights to prescribe restricted medicines for suitably trained podiatrists and streamlined administrative processes for approving drugs prescribed by suitably qualified optometrists and nurse practitioners.
- New rights for orthoptists employed in certain settings to prescribe spectacles without a referral from an eye doctor or an optometrist.
Some minor amendments were recently made to the Act, prior to it coming into operation, to improve its functionality and address a number of minor omissions, and take into account developments occurring at the national level, to establish a national registration and accreditation scheme for the health professions by July 2008.
The following are links to the COAG communiques:
14 July 2006 (Facilitating Workforce Responsiveness and Mobility)
13 April 2007 (Health Workforce)
The information sheets below provide further information on the Act and the associated changes to the regulatory framework:
Information sheet 2 - What are the key reforms? (PDF File - 19.9 KB)
Information sheet 3 - Why are the reforms needed? (PDF File - 25.2 KB)
Information sheet 4 - Frequently Asked Questions - Consumers (PDF File - 38.2 KB)
Information sheet 5 - Frequently asked questions - Practitioners (PDF File - 32.8 KB)
For further information on the background to the Act, see Completed Reviews relating to Health Practitioner Regulation