Mandatory notifications: Requirements changing

Date published:
14 Jan 2020

Notifying Ahpra about a concern that a health practitioner may be putting public safety at risk is called a ‘notification’.

Anyone can make a voluntary notification about a health practitioner, but by law, registered health practitioners, employers and education providers must make a mandatory notification in some limited circumstances. Mandatory notifications help to protect the public by ensuring that Ahpra and the National Boards are alerted to unmanaged risks to the public.

In early 2020, the requirements to make a mandatory notification are changing. The changes aim to support health practitioners to seek help about their health without fearing a mandatory notification.

Health Ministers agreed to make changes to mandatory notifications requirements in the National Law and the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 (Qld) (the Bill) was passed by the Queensland Parliament in February 2019.

The changes only apply to treating practitioners and intend to support practitioners to seek advice for a health issue (including mental health issues), while continuing to protect the public. This is because the circumstances for treating practitioners to make mandatory notifications are more limited than they are for other groups.

Under these National Law amendments, three of the four types of conduct (impairment, intoxication and practice outside of professional standards), which may lead to a mandatory notification, will have the same threshold for mandatory notifications by treating practitioners. It is: substantial risk of harm.

A substantial risk of harm is a very high threshold for reporting risk of harm to the public. 

When the amendments take effect in early 2020, they will apply in all states and territories except Western Australia, where mandatory notification requirements will not change.

Find out more, download resources and access the current guidelines for mandatory notifications on Ahpra's website

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