Medical Radiation Practice Board of Australia - October 2022
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October 2022

Issue 32 - October 2022

From the Chair

Cara Miller

Welcome to the Spring edition of the Board newsletter.

I attended the Clinical Educators Forum held in Mooloolaba, Queensland on 15 and 16 September. It was great to see such a large turnout for the event and the presentations were brilliant. The interface between education and clinical practice is critical for safe practice and the future workforce. It was so pleasing to hear the discussions about increased collaboration between education providers and clinical educators and supervisors. I want to thank Greg Trypis for a very engaging and well-run event.

In this newsletter we look at the necessity of Basic Life Support skills for all medical radiation practitioners and the Board’s Statement on artificial intelligence in medical radiation practice. We also look at the importance of professional indemnity insurance. And for those who may be interested, you can help with research into work-related musculoskeletal issues for medical radiation practitioners.

Cara Miller

Chair, Medical Radiation Practice Board of Australia

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Priority news

Basic Life Support skills are essential for responding to acute patient deterioration

Two recent Coronial matters, one in Victoria (Peta Hickey) and one in Queensland (Maria Willersdorf), have shown the significant consequences when basic life support is not provided to patients in the care of health practitioners.

In both cases, while there was no guarantee that the initiating cause of the patient’s deterioration could have been reversed, the provision of basic life support could have significantly improved their chances of survival.

What is expected of practitioners?

Medical radiation practitioners, as members of the healthcare team, have a professional obligation to contribute to the system of safe healthcare by recognising and responding to acute deterioration.

While the obligations will most commonly arise in acute care settings, you are expected to exercise the same principles of care when practising in private practice or community healthcare facilities. In most cases, you will apply clear protocols for managing a deteriorating patient, but in other cases you will need to apply a high level of professional judgement to provide the best care for the deteriorating patient.

Medical radiation practitioners are expected to be able to respond to the acutely deteriorating patient and:

  • make a reasonable assessment of a patients’ physiological status
  • recognise abnormal vital signs, observations and other abnormal physiological parameters
  • initiate appropriate early interventions consistent with local policies and processes, including calling for emergency assistance
  • respond with life-sustaining measures (basic life support) in the event of severe or rapid deterioration, pending the arrival of emergency assistance, and
  • communicate information about clinical deterioration in a structured and effective way to the attending medical officer or team, to clinicians providing emergency assistance and to patients, families and carers.

Essential CPD

Medical radiation practitioners should regularly assess their professional development needs. Basic Life Support training that includes cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) should be a regular component of CPD. Basic Life Support training needs to be updated or refreshed every 12-24 months.

For more information about practitioner obligations to recognise and respond to acute physiological deterioration please see the Frequently asked questions for the Professional capabilities.

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Board news

Artificial intelligence in medical radiation practice

The Board has developed a Statement on artificial intelligence to help practitioners understand their professional obligations with respect to the use of artificial intelligence in their practice.

Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and deep learning algorithms offer great opportunities and benefits for patients and the delivery of safe health services. While AI can contribute positively to the provision of healthcare services, registered practitioners must be aware of its limitations.

Patient safety is paramount. To safely integrate AI into practice you must be able to assert effective control over AI-supported systems. To do this you will need to develop your knowledge, skills and attributes to safely and effectively use AI in practice.

Students, education providers, clinical educators and practitioners all need to be aware of and engaged in the changing capabilities of technology, its impact on practice and implications for the provision of safe, accessible, effective and timely healthcare services.

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Research into work-related musculoskeletal issues for Australian medical radiation practitioners

From time to time the Board is asked to distribute information about research projects that are related to medical radiation practice and have a connection to the Board’s role in regulating the profession. We have agreed to distribute information about a research survey looking at Occupational Work, Health and Safety (OWHS) issues for Australian medical radiation practitioners.

The aim of the research is to identify the leading causes of work health and safety issues, in particular musculoskeletal issues, for Australian medical radiation practitioners. Participation in the research project is voluntary and all information provided as part of the project’s online survey is done so anonymously.

The survey takes about 10-15 minutes to complete. For those who are interested you can also volunteer for a one-hour focus group that will further develop insights into OWHS issues.

The principal investigator is Min Ku, Professional Standards Manager at the Australian Society of Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy (ASMIRT) who can be contacted via email at [email protected].

Alternatively, you can contact Assoc. Professor Georgia Halkett, Senior Research Fellow, Curtin University by email at [email protected]. Curtin University Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) has approved this study (Ethics approval: HRE2022-0344).

You can access the survey and the participant information statements using this link:

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Professional indemnity insurance – make sure you’re covered!

If you haven’t done it for a while, now might be a time to review your professional indemnity (PII) arrangements to make sure that you are compliant with the registration standard and guidelines. This follows routine audits earlier this year that showed a small spike in the number of practitioners who are not compliant with the PII registration standard.

To practise as a medical radiation practitioner, you are required to hold appropriate PII – it’s a requirement of the National Law, it’s a requirement of the registration standard, and it’s an important part of keeping the public safe.

Registration renewal is coming up in November and you’ll need to declare you hold PII

Before you make this declaration, the Board suggests you:

  • Check your PII coverage – is it current?
  • Don’t assume, check it.
  • Set yourself a reminder for when your policy is due to be renewed.
  • If you’re a graduate, get your PII sorted out before you start practising.
  • If you are working as a volunteer or in an unpaid position you are still required to have appropriate professional indemnity insurance arrangements in place.

What if you find out you’re not appropriately covered?

Note that if you have a gap in PII and fail to notify Ahpra at the time but instead declare the gap later, you will have failed to comply with your obligations under the National Law.

Many of the PII problems we’ve come across are avoidable. Simply checking to ensure that you are covered helps in most cases. If you’ve changed your credit card or bank details or contact details like your email address or phone number, check in with your provider to make sure they have your up-to-date details.

If you are uncertain about the PII you need, seek professional advice from your employer, professional or industrial association, insurance broker or legal advisor.

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Registration fee set for 2022/23

The Board has set the annual registration fees for medical radiation practitioners for 2022/23 at $203, an increase limited to indexation.

Practitioner registration fees fund the work of Ahpra and the National Boards to keep the public safe by:

  • supporting national registration to ensure only qualified, safe, and professional health practitioners can practise in Australia
  • developing evidence-based and practice-tested standards, codes, and guidelines
  • accrediting programs of study that lead to registration and endorsement, and
  • investigating concerns raised about registered health practitioners.

The National Boards work closely with Ahpra to keep fees as low as possible while continuing to meet regulatory obligations and the expectations of the public and practitioners.

Read more in the news item.

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Registration renewal is open online

Medical radiation practitioners have until 30 November 2022 to renew their general or non-practising registration on time.

We encourage you to renew early to avoid delays during the busy renewal period. Renewing on time also means you’ll avoid late fees which apply after 30 November 2022.

Look out for an email from Ahpra providing access to online renewal.

Read more in the news item.

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Students and graduates

Graduates – apply for registration now!

Medical radiation graduates set to complete their course in the next three months can take the first step in their new career by applying for registration now. Applying before you finish your studies means we can start assessing your application while we wait for your graduate results.

Registration with the Board is required before you can start work – and means you can work anywhere in Australia.

You’ll find helpful advice, tips for avoiding common causes of delay and downloadable information flyers on the Graduate applications page of the Ahpra website. On that page, you can watch a video, Applying for graduate registration, and check out the accompanying flyer, Quick guide: how to apply.

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What's new?

Cosmetic surgery complaints line and resources hub launched

Ahpra and the National Boards are committed to making cosmetic surgery safer. Patients who have been harmed by cosmetic surgery can now report their concerns to a hotline. Practitioners who are aware of unsafe cosmetic surgery practices are also encouraged to call.

Key points

  • Our Cosmetic Surgery Hotline – 1300 361 041 is a new service for cosmetic surgery patients and concerned practitioners to tell us about their bad experiences. If we know about it, we can investigate it. The specialised notifications team is here to listen Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm AEDT. Concerns can also be lodged confidentially.
  • We have also set up an online Cosmetic surgery hub that gathers helpful resources for practitioners and the public in one place.

The hotline and hub are part of the response by Ahpra and the Medical Board of Australia to the Independent review into the regulation of medical practitioners who perform cosmetic surgery.

Read more in the news item.

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Extension of temporary acceptance of additional English language tests for registration applicants

National Boards are accepting the TOEFL iBT® Home Edition test for applications received until 21 February 2023.

COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns have disrupted many English language tests and made it difficult for some applicants to use the English language test pathway to meet National Boards’ English language skills registration standards.

In response, earlier this year the National Boards established a temporary policy accepting the following additional language tests for a limited time:

  • the OET computer-based test and the OET@home test for applications received until 21 February 2023, and
  • the TOEFL iBT® Home Edition for applications received until 1 June 2022.

National Boards have now updated this temporary policy which means that, along with the OET computer based and OET@home tests, the TOEFL iBT® Home Edition will also be accepted, for applications received until 21 February 2023.

All other requirements set out in the National Boards English language skills registration standards still apply. There are no changes to any other requirements in the standards, including minimum test scores.

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Latest podcasts – listen up!

Our Taking care podcast series covers a wide range of current issues in patient safety and healthcare in conversation with health experts and other people in our community. We also publish transcripts of our podcasts. Recent episodes include:

  • the inextricable link between climate change and healthcare
  • the unique world of rural and remote healthcare
  • accessing safe healthcare when cost is an issue
  • safe healthcare for people experiencing homelessness
  • safe healthcare for refugee and asylum seeker communities.

You can access these on the Ahpra website or listen and subscribe on SpotifyApple Podcasts and by searching ‘Taking care’ in your podcast player. 

Keep an eye out for new episodes fortnightly.

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National Scheme news

Click on the image below to read the National Scheme newsletter.

National Scheme news banner graphic 

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: Cara Miller, Chair, Medical Radiation Practice Board of Australia, GPO Box 9958, Melbourne, VIC 3001.

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Cara Miller
Page reviewed 27/04/2023