2019/20 annual summary

Snapshot of the profession

  • 18,243 medical radiation practitioners
    • Up 9.4% from 2018/19
    • 2.3% of all registered health practitioners
  • 0.7% identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
  • 68.2% female; 31.8% male

Age

Age: 6.5% < 25, 36.5% 25-34, 25.4% 35-44, 15.7% 45-54, 11.5% 55-64, 4.1% 65-74, 0.3% > 75

Audit outcomes

Audit: 93.8% fully compliant, 1.3% compliant (through education), 0.9% non-compliant, 4.0% no audit action required

Divisions

  • 14,454 diagnostic radiographers
  • 16 diagnostic radiographers and nuclear medicine technologists
  • 2 diagnostic radiographers and radiation therapists
  • 1,216 nuclear medicine technologists
  • 2,555 radiation therapists

Regulating the profession

Notifications

  • 31 notifications lodged with Ahpra
    • 35 registered medical radiation practitioners Australia-wide, including HPCA and OHO data, had notifications made about them
    • 0.2% of the profession

Sources of notifications

Sources of notifications: 19.3% patient, relative or member of the public, 9.7% employer, 9.7% other practitioner, 6.5% HCE, 6.5% Board’s own motion, 48.4% other

  • 2 immediate actions taken
  • 6 mandatory notifications received  
    • none about professional standards

Most common types of complaint

Most common types of complaint: 29.0% health impairment, 25.8% clinical care, 12.9% behaviour, 9.7% breach of non-offence provision National Law, 6.5% boundary violation, 16.1% other

Notifications closed

Notifications closed: 30 notifications closed (16.7% conditions imposed on registration or an undertaking accepted, 6.7% received a caution or reprimand, 13.3% referred to another body or retained by a health complaints entity, 63.3% no further action)

Monitoring

  • 20 practitioners monitored for health, performance and/ or conduct during the year
  • 41 cases being monitored at 30 June:
    • 3 for conduct
    • 9 for health reasons
    • 1 for performance
    • 3 for prohibited practitioner/student
    • 25 for suitability/eligibility for registration

Criminal offence complaints

  • 3 criminal offence complaints made
    • 3 about title protection
  • None were closed 

Referrals to an adjudication body

  • No matters decided by a tribunal
  • No matters decided by a panel
  • No appeals

A report from the Chair

Issues this year

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. 

Regulatory response to COVID-19

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.

Accreditation

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.

Policy and project updates

Revised professional capabilities

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: 

  • strengthened requirements for recognising and responding to the deteriorating patient
  • obligations for a practitioner to alert other health practitioners involved in the care of a patient when urgent or unexpected findings are identified
  • the introduction of new minimum capabilities for ultrasound (US) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • improved practitioner capabilities when using scheduled medicines
  • an obligation to practise in a culturally safe way, particularly with respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

Videos developed to support practice

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).

Stakeholder engagement

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. 

Supporting the use of scheduled medicines

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

 
 
Page reviewed 28/09/2021