October 2021

Issue 29 - October 2021


From the Chair

Hello, and welcome to the spring 2021 edition of our newsletter.

The COVID-19 pandemic remains a focal point in some form or other for communities around the world. Communities in parts of Australia are living with conditions limiting movement and the ability to connect with family and friends. We acknowledge the impact that COVID-19 continues to have across the country, both on the medical radiation practice workforce and the broader society, and encourage all medical radiation practitioners to get vaccinated as soon as possible. We recommend that you read our statement on COVID-19 vaccinations.

We have vacancies for clinical supervisors and cultural safety experts on our Accreditation Committee, and you can read a profile of Professor Sarah Lewis, Deputy Chair of the committee, about her experiences.

We are also looking for final year students and recent graduates to help us road test new medical radiation practice exams.

Stay safe.

Mark Marcenko

Chair, Medical Radiation Practice Board of Australia

back to top


Board news

Help us road test new exams. There’s $195 in it for you!

The Board is reaching out to final year students (about to graduate) and recent graduates (registered for two years or less) in diagnostic radiography, radiation therapy and nuclear medicine technology.

If you can spare just three and a half hours of your time, you will be given a $195 credit card simply by road testing an exam developed by the Board. It’s that simple.

Part of the Board’s role is to assess the suitability of applicants for registration who have gained their qualifications overseas.

The Board has developed new exams that this type of applicant must sit as part of our assessment of their application for registration to practise in Australia.

We want to ensure the exam is fit for purpose and pitched correctly for entry level practice.

What are we asking you to do?

  • Be available in the week starting Monday 6 December. There will be a number of different times during that week that you can select to sit the exam.
  • Give us 3 to 3.5 hours of your time to sit the exam (includes administration time at the start and end of the test period).
  • Have access to the internet in a quite space (e.g. your home) and use of a computer with a functioning video camera. You will be under normal exam conditions and will be monitored remotely by an Online Exam Proctor.
  • Be ready to put in your best effort to do as well as you can. This helps us to ensure that the exam pass mark is set correctly.
  • Complete a short survey about your experience and to give your feedback about the exam at the end of the exercise.

How do I let you know I can help and by when?

The cut-off date for nominating yourself to sit the exam is Wednesday 3 November 2021. We have limited places available so contact us as soon as you can at mrpexam@ahpra.gov.au.

Will sitting this exam affect any future registration application I might make?

No! This test exercise has no bearing on an individual’s eligibility for registration as a medical radiation practitioner. The purpose of this exercise is to assess the effectiveness of the exam. It is not an assessment of individuals.

What if I have a question?

If you have any questions or you would like a copy of the calibration exercise data collection statement, please email mrpexam@ahpra.gov.au.

back to top

Our Accreditation Committee needs clinical supervisors and cultural safety expertise

The Board is calling for applications from interested persons for appointment to the Medical Radiation Practice Accreditation Committee (the committee).

We are looking for people with an interest in accreditation and particularly practitioners with experience in clinical education. We also invite Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people with experience in cultural safety in healthcare to apply.

Appointment to the committee is an opportunity to help shape accreditation standards for the profession. We need committee members with the skills and knowledge to ensure that medical radiation practitioners of the future have the necessary skills to practise safely, which includes a commitment to culturally safe healthcare.

If you have an interest in the work of accreditation and you can work collaboratively with colleagues and stakeholders, we look forward to hearing from you.

We have published some answers to frequently asked questions about the role and functions of the Accreditation Committee – Your questions answered.

Applications close Sunday 3 October 2021 at 5:00pm, Australian Standard Time.

More information

About the vacancies and to submit an application.

About the Accreditation Committee.

General enquiries, please email statutoryappointments@ahpra.gov.au.

back to top

Profile: Professor Sarah Lewis, Deputy Chair, Accreditation Committee

Image of Prof Sarah Lewis MRPBA Accreditation CommitteeMedical Radiation Practice Accreditation Committee member, Professor Sarah Lewis, reflects on her role and the work of the committee.

Professor Lewis has been Deputy Chair of the committee for the past five years.

She is a diagnostic radiographer based at the University of Sydney where her official title is Professor of Medical Imaging.

You can read all about Sarah’s experience on the MRP Accreditation Committee web page.

back to top

Clinical education and supervision training – Teaching on the Run program

The Board continues to offer Teaching on the Run (TOTR) workshops for medical radiation practitioners. TOTR is a national program developed by staff of the TELL Centre, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, at the University of Western Australia. The TOTR program helps improve the quality of the teaching and supervision of practitioners and students and is suitable for all levels of qualified practitioners.

The Board funds the cost of the workshops so that there are no course costs for participants.

Currently the sessions are delivered via online workshops. The final sessions for 2021 are as follows:

  • Planning learning and skills teaching – October 7
  • Assessment fundamentals and supporting learners – October 21

To register your interest, simply email your name, contact number and preferred course number to Board-MRP-RSVP@ahpra.gov.au.

Visit our website for more information on supervisor training.

back to top

No place for sexism, sexual harassment or gendered violence in healthcare

There is no place for sexism, sexual harassment or gendered violence in healthcare. The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) and the National Boards want to remind registered health practitioners of their professional obligations and encourage speaking up about disrespectful behaviour and unprofessional conduct in healthcare.

See our joint statement, No place for sexism, sexual harassment or violence in healthcare.

Our expectations of practitioner conduct and respectful, professional behaviour, including maintaining appropriate professional boundaries, are set out in the Board’s Code of conduct.

Practitioners must always treat patients, consumers, students, employees and colleagues with respect. They must always communicate professionally and respectfully with and about others, including when using social media. Respect is a cornerstone of good, professional practice and it is fundamental to the Australian community’s trust in registered health practitioners.

Concerns about a registered health practitioner’s unprofessional conduct, including sexual harassment, should be reported to Ahpra. For more information, visit the Ahpra website.

back to top

Stop Press: Medical radiation practitioners now eligible to join the Victorian COVID-19 vaccination workforce

The Victorian Department of Health is recruiting eligible medical radiation practitioners to join the COVID-19 vaccination program workforce.

On 1 September 2021, the Secretary to the Department of Health authorised a range of new workforces, including medical radiation practitioners, to prepare and/or administer the COVID-19 vaccine under a time-limited Public Health Emergency Order.

As vaccination supply increases and the Victorian COVID-19 vaccination program is scaling up to deliver more than 500,000 doses per week, medical radiation practitioners now have the opportunity to become part of this critical workforce.

How to get involved

  • If you work in a hospital or service that is delivering a COVID-19 vaccination service, you may be able to join the workforce locally. Discuss this with your employer.
  • Search for COVID-19 vaccination roles in your local area using your usual job search platforms.
  • Register with Torrens Health. The department has partnered with Torrens Health to help recruit to the vaccination workforce. Registering includes specifying your location and availability to assist within the Victorian health system.

For further information about joining the COVID-19 vaccination workforce, to confirm your eligibility and to access the free training required prior to registration, please visit: www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/covid-19-vaccine-program-workforce.

Please note, you will also be required to complete practical bridging training and a clinical skills and competencies assessment during onboarding, and will be paid for your time.

Medical radiation practitioners who do not meet the eligibility to prepare or administer the vaccine may still be eligible to participate in other surge COVID-19 workforce areas, such as in support or administrative roles.

Should you wish to discuss this matter further, please contact the COVID-19 Workforce Training and Readiness team at the Department of Health by email at: workforce.training@health.vic.gov.au.

back to top 


Registration 

Registration renewal is coming up – what’s different this year?

Registration renewal for medical radiation practitioners opens in October. You have until 30 November to submit your application before late fees apply.

Renewal is now online only and there are changes to payment options

We’ve moved to online only for general, specialist and non-practising registration renewal. Over 99 per cent of health practitioners already renew online, it’s the quickest and easiest way to renew.
Renewal fees can be paid by credit/debit card. If you do not have a credit/debit card you can purchase a pre-paid debit card from various retail outlets for a nominal fee. BPay is no longer available.

Embedding cultural safety in the ways we work

The National Registration and Accreditation Scheme’s (National Scheme) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Cultural Safety Strategy aims to make patient safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples the norm. We strive to embed cultural safety in the ways we work within the National Scheme too.

From 2021, you’ll be asked if you identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander when you renew your registration. This will help us continue to develop culturally safe ways of working.

Continuing professional development 2021

The Board expects you to make reasonable efforts to complete your required continuing professional development (CPD) for the 2020–21 registration period. However, we understand that some practitioners may have had trouble fully meeting CPD, particularly any face to face requirements, due to the impacts of COVID-19. CPD is important as it helps maintain competence and supports safe and effective care.

The Board will not take action if you have not been able to complete CPD due to the exceptional circumstances of COVID-19.

It’s important that you answer all questions honestly and accurately when completing your registration renewal. You must declare that you have not met the CPD requirements if that is the case.

In the future the Board may request evidence of what you have done to address any identified gaps in your CPD learning needs such as interactive or face to face CPD.

Given the importance of CPD and the increasing availability of flexible and COVID-safe CPD options, you will be expected to fully meet CPD requirements in future and when renewing in 2022. Remember:

  • There are many flexible delivery and COVID-safe options for CPD and interactive CPD can be completed virtually, and
  • COVID-related learning activities can be counted towards CPD.

If you have not met the CPD requirements because of disruptions caused by COVID-19 you should update your CPD plan to explain how you will address any resulting learning needs, such as your face to face or interactive requirements, in the next registration period. The Board expects you to access any specific training as soon as you can, for example by scheduling face to face activities when available.

back to top

No change to registration fees for 2021-22

Registration fee for medical radiation practice for 2021-22

  • The Board has frozen the registration fee for the profession at $197.
  • The fee for practitioners whose principal place of practice is New South Wales is $128.

A full fee schedule, including the fee arrangements for practitioners whose principal place of practice is NSW, is published on the Board’s website.

Read more in the news item.

back to top

Latest workforce data released

The Board’s latest quarterly registration data has been released. The report covers 1 April to 30 June 2021. At this date, there were 21,492 registered medical radiation practitioners: 17,335 with general registration, 122 with provisional registration, three with limited registration and 384 non-practising registrants.

For more details, including registration data by principal place of practice, age and gender, visit our Statistics page.

back to top


Students and graduates

Graduating soon? Be ready to start work – apply now

Once you are registered, you can work as a medical radiation practitioner anywhere in Australia.

Before you can start practising and using the protected title ‘medical radiation practitioner’, you must be registered with the Medical Radiation Practice Board of Australia (the Board).

If you're set to complete your course within the next three months, apply for registration now. We'll start assessing your application while we wait for your graduate results.

What are the requirements?

Requirements for registration include proving that you have met the Board’s registration standards for:

  • criminal history
  • English language skills, and
  • professional indemnity insurance.

You will also need to declare any health impairments that may affect your ability to practise.

Getting your application right

See the Board’s news item for information about the process and the steps you need to complete, including creating your account on Ahpra’s online services portal and getting the photo ID requirements right. The news item links to a handy guide to certifying documents that you can download and take with you to the authorised officer.

Check out our graduate video, and you’ll also find helpful advice, tips for avoiding common causes of delay and downloadable information flyers on the graduate applications page of the Ahpra website.

Once you are registered

When you are registered, we will publish your name to the Register of practitioners (the public register) and you can start working as a medical radiation practitioner.

back to top


Alerts

Information for practitioners on voluntary assisted dying law in Western Australia

The Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2019 (WA) (the Act) came into effect on 1 July 2021. Registered health practitioners need to be aware of the Act and its requirements. There are some provisions that are relevant to all registered health practitioners (and healthcare workers) and some provisions that are more specifically relevant to medical practitioners, nurse practitioners, pharmacists and paramedics.

Resources have been developed by the WA Department of Health and the Voluntary Assisted Dying Implementation Leadership Team in collaboration with stakeholders. These are available at: ww2.health.wa.gov.au/voluntaryassisteddying.

The following resource provides a starting point for health practitioners in understanding their obligations, responsibilities and protections under the Act:

For further information, visit the website.

back to top

Information for practitioners on changes to Queensland Criminal Code: Child Sexual Offences

As of 5 July 2021, Queensland’s Criminal Code Act 1899 is amended under the Criminal Code (Child Sexual Offences Reform) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2020 to include two new offences (Criminal Code, Chapter 22 – Offences against morality):

  • ss. 229BB – Failure to protect a child from a sexual offence: will make it an offence to fail to protect a child from a sexual offence in an institutional setting. The offence will be punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment for an ‘accountable person’ who fails to protect a child from a sexual offence.
  • ss. 229BC – Failure to report sexual offending against a child to police: will make it an offence for any adult not to report sexual offending against a child by another adult to police. This obligation extends outside of the workplace to our responsibility as members of the Queensland community to protect children. The offence will be punishable by up to three years’ imprisonment for any adult who fails to report child sexual abuse to police.

These new offences recognise the difficulties victims have in disclosing or reporting abuse, the vulnerability of children, and the risk that perpetrators of child sexual abuse may have multiple victims and may continue to reoffend against particular victims over lengthy periods of time.

The Criminal Code amendment does not replace the mandatory reporting obligations of doctors and registered nurses under the Child Protection Act 1999 (Qld) (the CP Act).

This advice applies to all registered health practitioners; for further information please visit: www.qld.gov.au/law/crime-and-police/types-of-crime/sexual-offences-against-children.

back to top


National Scheme news

Thousands more health practitioners now able to join the pandemic response

From 22 September, thousands of extra health practitioners, including diagnostic radiographers, can join the COVID-19 response through a new temporary sub-register established by Ahpra and the National Boards.

Key points

  • Ahpra and National Boards have established a new pandemic response sub-register for 2021 (the 2021 sub-register).
  • Nearly 29,000 practitioners who recently stopped practising are now eligible to practise for up to 12 months.
  • This surge workforce will make more practitioners available to help with the pandemic response if they choose to do so.
  • Practitioners can opt out of the 2021 sub-register at any time and don't need to explain why.

The 2021 pandemic response sub-register was established in response to the changing needs of Australia’s health system due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes 12 regulated health professions whose members can work to the full scope of their registration.

On the 2021 sub-register are key professions identified by governments in their pandemic response planning. These include medical practitioners, nurses, midwives and pharmacists along with dental practitioners, diagnostic radiographers, occupational therapists, optometrists, physiotherapists, podiatrists and psychologists. Eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners are being added to the 2021 sub-register if they choose to opt in.

The extra health practitioners on the 2021 sub-register join 26,000 practitioners, including diagnostic radiographers, who are on the 2020 pandemic response sub-register first established in April 2020 and extended in April 2021 for a further 12 months.

What’s different about the new sub-register?

Those on the new 2021 sub-register can practise to the full scope of their registration, while practitioners on the 2020 pandemic sub-register are restricted to working in areas directly supporting the COVID-19 response, such as administering the COVID-19 vaccination or backfilling for furloughed staff.

Health service needs are constantly changing across Australia. The 2021 sub-register is a tool to help health authorities meet current workforce needs and those that might arise in the next 12 months.

Public safety remains an important focus of Ahpra and the National Boards, ensuring that practitioners available as a potential surge health workforce are properly qualified, competent and suitable to be on the sub-registers.

Finding employment during the pandemic

Ahpra has no role in helping practitioners on either of the sub-registers find employment as that is the domain of health authorities and employers. Anyone who’s in a high-risk category for COVID-19 should only work in a safe practice environment.

When offering employment, health departments and employers also have an important role in carrying out probity checks and in providing any training or supervision of practitioners that may be needed. More information, including FAQs, is available for practitioners and employers:

Read more in the news item.

back to top

COVID-19 and vaccines: new joint statement helps sort fact from fiction

A joint statement has been released by Ahpra and the National Boards, the Health Care Complaints Commission, the Office of the Health Ombudsman and the Therapeutic Goods Administration. Its message is: You need reliable, evidence-based information to be able to make good choices about your healthcare. But in a climate thick with commentary about COVID-19 and vaccines, how do you sort fact from fiction?

The statement covers four main points:

  • Get advice from the experts (with a link to the national online register of practitioners).
  • Be safe in the knowledge that registered health practitioners must meet national standards (with links to the National Boards’ websites).
  • Don’t get swayed by opinions.
  • Reach out to a trusted person, like your GP.

It also lists and links to reliable sources of information on COVID-19 and vaccinations in Australia to help people make sure they have the best, most accurate and evidence-based information for their specific needs when making decisions about their own or their loved ones’ health.

The statement has been translated into Arabic, Farsi, Greek, Simplified Chinese and Vietnamese. These versions are available on Ahpra’s Translations page.

back to top

New independent accreditation committee established

A new independent accreditation committee has been established by Ahpra in line with Health Ministers’ policy direction issued earlier this year and as a key element of Health Ministers’ response to the Independent review of accreditation systems final report.

The broad stakeholder membership of the committee will bring a wide range of perspectives to the new committee’s work, recognising the importance of professional and accreditation expertise as well as community, employer and education provider involvement.

Accreditation provides a framework for assuring that individuals seeking registration are suitably trained, qualified and competent to practise as health practitioners in Australia.

The new committee brings together a broad range of expertise that will help inform health practitioner education to support future workforce needs and protects the public. The committee’s terms of reference have been published on the Ahpra website.

Members have been appointed for a three-year term and have been drawn from categories identified by the Health Council, with the addition of a member who identifies as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. Read more in the news item.

back to top

You may notice that the public register looks a little different

Ahpra has launched a new-look public register with enhanced search capabilities. The aim of the enhancements is to make the register easier to use, especially for those in our communities who may have barriers to access.

What’s different?

Some of the changes you’ll see include:

  • increased prominence of the register on the Ahpra homepage so it’s easier to find
  • simplified language with pop-up information boxes, and
  • improved search functionality, including:
  • predictive text
  • phonetic searching capability
  • search by location, and
  • refined search filters (including being able to search by the 15 most common community languages).

To help users navigate the new-look register, we’ve developed a ‘how to search’ video which is available on our Help and tips page.

back to top

Guidance on reflective practice reports

If a practitioner has been the subject of a notification to Ahpra or the Board, they may be required by the conditions on their registration to do specified education. This is usually accompanied by a requirement to provide the Board with a reflective practice report demonstrating how they have reflected on the issues that gave rise to the condition and outlining how they have incorporated these lessons into practice.

New guidance is now available for practitioners who are subject to education or mentoring conditions as part of their registration. The new guidance: Information sheet – Reflective reports (Education) and Information sheet – Reflective reports (Mentoring) is published under the Monitoring and compliance section on the Ahpra website.

The guidance on developing a reflective report is endorsed by the Board.

National Boards have also approved a new form for review of conditions of undertakings (form ARCD-00) which is published on the Registration Common forms page. Ahpra is also developing guidance for practitioners on the information required by National Boards when considering applications to change or remove conditions or undertakings.

back to top

Improvements made to notifier confidentiality safeguards

All improvements recommended in the National Health Practitioner Ombudsman’s (NHPO) Review of confidentiality safeguards for people making notifications about health practitioners have now been implemented or are underway.

The review found that Ahpra’s management of confidential and anonymous notifications offered reasonable safeguards for notifiers and was consistent with the practices of other regulators globally.

The NHPO recommendations to strengthen Ahpra’s policies, guidance, communications and systems to further mitigate risk of harm to notifiers have now been implemented. These include:

  • updating relevant policies to reflect that possible confidentiality safeguards for the notifier will be considered when assessing each new notification
  • publishing an updated privacy policy and collection statement to clarify how personal information will be used and disclosed, and
  • providing new guidance to staff about how to safeguard confidentiality, including in relation to redacting a notifier’s information and sharing a notifier’s information with the relevant practitioner.

As part of this work, we also recognised the importance of procedural fairness for practitioners. Following consultation with professional associations and professional indemnity providers, we have published a new guide for staff to help them manage complaints which may have insufficient detail to allow practitioners to respond meaningfully.

We have also published a vexatious notifications framework and introduced new training for staff in how to identify and manage vexatious complaints.

For more information, read the news item.

back to top

Research and evaluation framework to embed strong research culture

National Boards and Ahpra have published the Research and evaluation framework, the guiding document that outlines how we prioritise, carry out, manage and assess research and evaluation.

The framework, which builds on the inaugural framework released in 2017, aims to further embed an ethical, transparent and accountable best practice research and evaluation culture within the National Scheme.

The framework covers all National Scheme research and evaluation activities including those led by Ahpra staff and external researchers and consultants. It includes information on research and evaluation principles, priorities, governance and practice, and engagement and communication.

The framework can be viewed on the Ahpra website.

back to top


Keep in touch with the Board

  • Visit our website for the mandatory registration standards, codes, guidelines and FAQs.

  • Visiting the website regularly is the best way to stay in touch with news and updates from the Board.

  • Lodge an enquiry form via the website by following the Enquiries link on every web page under Contact us.

  • For registration enquiries, call 1300 419 495 (from within Australia) or +61 3 9285 3010 (for overseas callers).

  • To update your contact details for important registration renewal emails and other Board updates, go to the Ahpra website: Update contact details.

  • Address mail correspondence to: Mark Marcenko, Chair, Medical Radiation Practice Board of Australia, GPO Box 9958, Melbourne, VIC 3001.

back to top

 
 
Page reviewed 1/10/2021