For the Medical Radiation Practice Board of Australia, by far the greatest challenge of 2019/20 has been our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we progressed our consideration of some intersecting issues, including digital and machine learning in medical radiation practice, conflict and violence in healthcare facilities, inequality in healthcare, and decision models for practitioners.
Following a request from Australia’s Health Ministers to enable more qualified and experienced diagnostic radiographers to quickly return to practice, on 20 April 2020 over 1,100 diagnostic radiographers who had left the Register of practitioners or moved to non-practising registration in the past three years were added to the pandemic response sub-register.
While practitioners have been added to the sub-register we have been mindful of the impact for practitioners whose work hours have been reduced and the uncertainty this has created for them. We applaud the professionalism and collaborative spirit of a large number of practitioners who have offered their support to public health services in dealing with the pandemic.
The Board modified supervised practice arrangements to allow more flexible arrangements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, noting the increased pressure on clinical training centres. The changes allow supervised practitioners to move through the program more quickly while still ensuring that they meet the standards of practice necessary for general registration.
The Board approved revised Accreditation standards: medical radiation practice, which came into effect on 1 March.
The Board also approved new terms of reference for the Medical Radiation Practice Accreditation Committee aligning them with the arrangements for other accreditation entities.
The accreditation committee annually monitors 25 accredited programs in medical radiation practice from 11 education providers across Australia.
In late 2019 the Board released revised Professional capabilities for medical radiation practice following a 12-month consultation. The new professional capabilities started on 1 March and introduced some changes including:
In June the Board released the first two videos in a planned series of videos to help practitioners to give safe care. The first video focuses on taking appropriate and timely action when urgent or unexpected findings are identified (See something, say something) and the second video focuses on recognising and responding to the deteriorating patient (Deteriorating patient).
In the second half of 2019 the Board sent representatives to some industry collaborations. A conference on revised accreditation standards and professional capabilities was planned for mid-March but due to COVID-19 it was cancelled. However, the changed arrangements for interaction since then have given us an opportunity to engage with stakeholders through different digital mediums.
The Professional capabilities for medical radiation practice enable safe practice in emerging areas of practice, including the use of scheduled medicines. Recently, in Queensland, nuclear medicine technologists were given authority to use and administer medications necessary for some examinations.
Mr Mark Marcenko, Chair