Download a PDF copy of the Fact sheet - Notifications - Managing risk to the public - how the complaints and concerns process works (101 KB,PDF)
This fact sheet is for all registered paramedics, paramedic employers and educators providing a Board-approved1 program and all registered paramedic students undertaking a Board-approved1 program from 1 December 2018.
One of the ways in which the Paramedicine Board of Australia (the National Board) protects the public is by investigating complaints and concerns.
Under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (National Law) we refer to complaints or concerns as notifications because a person notifies us of their complaint or concern about a registered health practitioner’s conduct, professional performance or health.
From 1 December 2018, when paramedicine begins to be regulated under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (National Scheme), anyone can make a notification about a registered paramedic.
As well as being mandatory in some cases, notifications can be made voluntarily by any individual with a concern or complaint about:
When a notification is received, AHPRA will forward the notification and any additional information received to the National Board to determine if action is required to be taken to protect the public. Any actions taken by a National Board aim first to protect the public, not to punish the practitioner.
Employers and other registered health practitioners are required to make a notification if they are if they have a reasonable belief the practitioner has engaged in notifiable conduct (this is known as a ‘mandatory notification’). Education providers must also make a mandatory notification if they are concerned about a student if the registered student has an impairment.
What is notifiable conduct?
Under section 140 of the National Law, notifiable conduct is described as the practitioner having:
Any practitioner or employer who forms a reasonable belief that another practitioner has engaged in notifiable conduct is obliged to make a notification to AHPRA as soon as possible.
AHPRA and the National Board have the power under the National Law to take action against a practitioner who does not comply with mandatory notifications requirements.
Anyone can lodge a complaint or concern about a registered health practitioner however not all concerns lodged meet the legal requirements of a notification.
Once a complaint or concern is lodged, AHPRA will make a preliminary assessment to determine if it is considered a notification under the National Law. If the concerns lodged do not meet the requirements for a notification, AHPRA will recommend that the National Board closes the matter. You will be notified in writing that the National Board has received a concern and what they are, but that the National Board will not be progressing it.
If the concerns lodged do meet the requirements for a notification, AHPRA may request further information from the practitioner and/or the notifier unless enough information has been provided initially in the concern or complaint. For example a practitioner may be will be provided a copy of the notification and will be asked to respond.
Once further information is provided, or if there is sufficient information provided with the notification, AHPRA will refer the matter on to the National Board for further assessment and a decision.
The National Board has several options for what to do next however not every assessment leads to an investigation or to another form of action by the Board.
The National Board may decide to:
The National Board will only take immediate action when it believes that, because of a practitioner’s conduct, performance or health there may be a serious risk to public health and safety, and it is necessary to act to protect the public.