February 2013

Issue 2 

Chair’s message

Welcome to the second newsletter of the Medical Radiation Practice Board of Australia (the National Board). This edition of the National Board newsletter provides an update on important topics including the English language standard, supervised practice, continuing professional development and mandatory notifications.

Since the Board first met in July 2012, registration standards, codes and guidelines have been developed for all medical radiation practitioners, 13,508 medical radiation practitioners have become registered in the one national scheme, a public register is available to check registrations, and a notifications (complaints) process has been established. High on the agenda this year will be working with the Board’s Accreditation Committee and developing supervised practice arrangements for 2014 and beyond.

We welcome feedback and input into these processes, including through the public consultation processes held as part of the development of every new standard.

Neil Hicks
Chair, Medical Radiation Board of Australia

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Snapshot of the profession

Table: Medical radiation practitioners: registration numbers by division by state and territory (December 2012)

  ACT NSW NT QLD SA VIC TAS WA No PPP* Totals 
Diagnostic radiographer 1626 3,234 97 2,177 797 211 2,688 1,000 89 10,455
Diagnostic radiographer and nuclear medicine technologist   1   11   1 3 3   19
Diagnostic radiographer and radiation therapist       2     3     5
Nuclear medicine technologist 20 348 3 126 65 17 286 67 4 936
Nuclear medicine technologist and radiation therapist       1           1
Radiation therapist 55 635 10 436 124 55 596 175 6 2,092
Medical radiation practitioner 237 4,218 110 2,753 986 284 3,576 1,245 99 13,508

* stands for ‘no principal place of practice’

NB: 163 registrants are non-practising

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Lapsed registrations

Medical radiation practitioners who had not renewed their general or non-practising registration by 30 November 2012 were removed from the Register of Medical Radiation Practitioners as of 3 January 2013. Medical radiation practitioners with lapsed registration are not on the national register of practitioners, and are therefore not able to practise.

From 1 February 2013 onwards you will need to lodge a new application for registration. Processing times for new applications depend on many factors, including whether the documentation you submit is complete and whether you make disclosures relating to health or criminal history. An application fee and registration fee apply.

You may not practise in Australia until your registration has been successfully processed and your name has been published on the national register of practitioners on the AHPRA website.

If you were previously registered but failed to apply for renewal of registration by 30 November 2012, or within the following one-month late period, please visit the Board’s website for more information on the relevant forms and fees.

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Annual renewal dates

Because some medical radiation practitioners transitioned to the National Scheme from state and territory boards with different renewal cycles, it will not be until 30 November 2013 that all in the profession have the same annual renewal date.

For the coming year, the renewal dates for medical radiation practitioners will be: 

TAS  31 March 2013 for 8 months' registration to 30 November 2013
QLD  31 June 2013 for 5 months' registration to 30 November 2013
WA  30 June 2013 for 5 months' registration to 30 November 2013
Other states/territories  30 November 2013

Practitioners who have nominated Tasmania as their principal place of practice should look out for reminders to renew from AHPRA as confirmation that online renewal is open. Reminders to renew are sent six to eight weeks before registration expires. Further information about renewals is available on the National Board's website.

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English language standard

An internationally qualified applicant or an applicant who did not complete their secondary education in English must demonstrate that they have the necessary English language skills for registration purposes. Under the Board’s mandatory English language skills registration standard all applicants for initial registration must demonstrate English language skills at International English Language Testing System (IELTS) academic level 7 or the equivalent. For full details, and a list of exemptions, read the English language skills registration standard on the Registration standards section of the Board’s website.

In September 2012 the Board approved a new timeline for 2012 graduates to meet the English language skills registration requirements. These arrangements remain in place for mid-year 2013 graduates.

The arrangements for applicants who do not meet English language requirements mean that: 

  • new graduates (of three-year courses) applying for provisional registration will have the following conditions imposed on their registration:
    1. The registrant will meet the Board’s English language skills registration standard within 12 months of being granted registration (and before applying for general registration) and will inform the Board when they have successfully completed the English language test. 
    2. The registrant will advise their employer of the conditions imposed on their registration. 
    3. The registrant will authorise their employer to notify AHPRA if the employer has any concerns about their competence in the English language.
  • New graduates (of four-year courses) applying for general registration will have supervised practice conditions placed on their registration. The conditions are the same as those currently being used for practitioners transitioning to the National Scheme who have practised for less than five years, and include nomination of an English language supervisor and progression in English language examinations.

Subsequent cohorts of graduates will be expected to meet the requirements when they apply for registration at the time of graduation.

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Supervised practice

Medical radiation practitioners whose current registration specifies a period of supervised practice are required to participate in either the Australian Institute of Radiography's (AIR’s) supervised practice program for diagnostic radiographers or radiation therapists, or the Australian and New Zealand Society of Nuclear Medicine’s (ANZSNM’s) supervised practice program for nuclear medicine scientists, in 2013.

For more information on the 2013 supervised practice program for diagnostic radiographers and radiation therapists, contact AIR on (03) 9419 3336.

Nuclear medicine technologists/scientists should contact ANZSNM on (03) 9756 0128 for more information.

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Provisional registration guidelines and supervised practice standard – public consultation

The Board continues to work on its supervised practice arrangements for 2014 and beyond. A public consultation on the draft supervised practice standard and provisional registration guidelines is underway. The consultation papers can be found on the Board’s website under News>Consultations.

The closing date for submissions is 12 noon, 28 March 2013 (AEDT). The Board welcomes your input.

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Accreditation Committee

The Board’s Accreditation Committee has now been established. Chaired by Associate Professor Marilyn Baird, the committee has representation from academia, accreditation experts and the three streams of the profession: diagnostic radiography, radiation therapy and nuclear medicine.

The committee will make independent recommendations to the Board regarding accreditation of programs of study. It will assess and monitor these programs of study against approved accreditation standards currently being developed.

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Continuing professional development (CPD)

To comply with the Board’s registration requirements, practitioners can undertake self-directed CPD or participate in an approved CPD program.

Practitioners must ensure that their self-directed CPD program is:

  1. relevant – a majority of CPD activities must be directly relevant to your area of practice
  2. varied – the Board recommends that practitioners undertake a variety of activity types and, where possible, include some CPD activities that involve interaction with peers. Engaging with other professionals on mutual areas of interest can provide valuable learning about professional and clinical matters
  3. reflective – CPD activities should incorporate a degree of reflective practice, which requires a practitioner to analyse experiences in order to learn from them, and record the learning, and
  4. properly documented – for all CPD undertaken, the practitioner must maintain detailed and verifiable records, which may be audited by the Board.

CPD logbook template

The Board has published a template logbook for registrants to record their CPD activities. It can be found under Continuing professional development on the Registration section of the Board’s website.

The template can be downloaded and saved on your computer to maintain your records. 

Image of CPD Logbook Template

Approved CPD providers

The following providers of continuing professional development programs are approved by the Board:

  • Alfred Imaging Group (AIG)
  • Australian and New Zealand Society of Nuclear Medicine (ANZSNM)
  • Australian Institute of Radiography (AIR), and
  • Royal Adelaide Hospital radiotherapy department (RAH) and Lyell McEwin Hospital radiotherapy department (LMH).

The list will be updated as required under Continuing professional development on the Registration section of the Board’s website.

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Accountability and transparency in the National Scheme

The National Boards’ and AHPRA’s commitment to transparency and accountability continues, with an expansion of the information published about legal issues and hearing decisions.

AHPRA has now published a table of panel hearing decisions dating back to July 2010. Summaries have been provided where there is educational and clinical value. Practitioners’ names are not published, consistent with the requirements of the National Law.

Some summaries of tribunal decisions are also provided, to help share information and guide practitioners.

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Page reviewed 24/03/2015