Medical Radiation Practice Board of Australia - Post implementation review of professional capabilities
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Post implementation review of professional capabilities

The revised Professional capabilities for medical radiation practice were published by the Medical Radiation Practice Board of Australia (the Board) in November 2019 after its commitment to ensure that the capabilities were operating as intended.

At the time, the Board committed to doing a post implementation review to investigate any impact on patient safety or unintended consequences arising from medical radiation practitioners ensuring their practice was consistent with these minimum capabilities for the profession.

The Board acknowledges that reviewing the professional capabilities on a regular basis is best practice. This is to ensure that the profession as a whole is contemporary in the role it plays in healthcare and is safe for the public.

It was further agreed to do the post implementation review in response to concerns raised by a specialist medical college and professional associations for the medical profession.

The review was started in late 2021. It examined consultation feedback from a wide range of stakeholders including correspondence from a specialist medical college and professional associations for the medical profession, a review of literature relevant to the capabilities as well as a review of National Scheme notifications data, and targeted consultation with major stakeholders all provided valuable feedback into the review.

The review report was considered by the Board at its December 2022 meeting and shared with key stakeholders before publication.

The review’s main findings are:

  • Implementation of the two professional capabilities 1.7a and 1.7c has not had any unintended consequences.
  • The impact on patient and practitioner safety has been positive.
  • Cultural safety in practice has not been adversely affected.
  • There is no evidence that medical radiation practitioners are going beyond their scope of practice. There were no reports of medical radiation practitioners being asked to perform life-saving treatments beyond their qualifications and training, and there were no reports of medical radiation practitioners being asked to formally report the findings of images.
  • Medical radiation practitioners generally have sufficient training to respond to deteriorating patients within the parameters of workplace policies and procedures.
  • Medical radiation practitioners are showing high levels of accuracy in their recognition of abnormal findings on images.

The review found there is a good body of evidence, both in literature and feedback from stakeholders, that the main capabilities are operating in the way that they were intended, reducing the risk of harm, and are producing a positive effect on patient care and safety.

Future focus must be on good collaborative models of care and interprofessional practice

While the review found several positives for patients arising from the two professional capabilities that were reviewed, it also identified some areas where improvements could be made.

The review identified that some practitioners have experienced challenges implementing the two professional capabilities reviewed (1.7a and 1.7c). Factors that have a negative impact include unsupportive workplace cultures, lack of support from some medical specialists and the widespread workforce shortages associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The review found that it will take time for some professional capabilities to become embedded for the whole of workforce but work well where there is a supportive team and workplace culture that builds confidence.

Patient safety is paramount

Our priority is patient safety. Healthcare that occurs in isolation, enables or pursues self-interests creates an unacceptable risk to patient safety. Patients, their families, the community and the health system are best served when interprofessional practice and collaborative models of care are the norm.

The obligation rests with all health practitioners to work together collaboratively, to respect another health practitioner’s capability to provide healthcare that may overlap with our own, to support and engender confidence and to seek specialist advice and guidance where it is necessary.

Next steps

The Board will continue to look at professional development strategies that may be helpful in supporting more effective practice across the profession.

Medical radiation practitioners have an ongoing obligation to ensure that their skills and knowledge are appropriate for safe and competent care. Well structured, professional development should regularly consider learning needs about culturally competent care, communicating urgent and unexpected findings safely, and recognising and responding to acute physiological deterioration, including anaphylaxis.

The Board welcomes the opportunity to work with all health practitioners and the professional associations for medical radiation practice to improve workplace culture, establish respectful ways of practice and collaborative models of care that are critical to ensuring delivery of safe, accessible, patient centered healthcare services.

Page reviewed 23/05/2023