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Updates from the Podiatry Board of Australia

Discussion in 'Australia' started by admin, May 11, 2011.

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    Selectively editing reviews or testimonials may break the law

    AHPRA has published further guidance for advertisers of regulated health services to emphasise that selectively editing reviews or testimonials has the potential to break the law.

    The recent example of an organisation only publishing positive reviews and removing all negative information from consumer reviews shows the importance of advertisers understanding their advertising obligations under all relevant legislation.

    Selectively editing reviews or testimonials has the potential to be false, misleading or deceptive and, therefore, be unlawful. For example it is inherently misleading to:

    Reviews influence consumer choice about their healthcare so advertisers must make sure reviews are genuine and not misleading. Advertisers’ moderation guidelines about publishing reviews must comply with the National Law1 and the Australian Consumer Law.

    The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and National Boards recently published a testimonial tool to help advertisers understand what reviews can and can’t be published.

    ‘We’ve since updated the tool to help advertisers get it right when they are moderating reviews or testimonials against the National Law’s advertising requirements,’ AHPRA CEO Martin Fletcher said.

    'If advertisers edit reviews or testimonials there is a high risk that the edited reviews will become misleading or deceptive. Only publishing complete and unedited reviews that are not testimonials will help advertisers to avoid breaching the National Law.

    'This is because reviews that don’t refer to the clinical aspects of care are not considered testimonials and, therefore, may be allowed. But even if the review doesn’t breach the ban on using testimonials to advertise, the advertiser may be breaking the law on misleading and deceptive advertising if the review is misleading because it has been edited or does not reflect all the feedback received.'

    Mr Fletcher encouraged all advertisers of regulated health services to consider the use of reviews very carefully and to make sure they meet their obligations under the National Law as well as the Australian Consumer Law.

    ‘Given the significant potential for consumers to be misled, we will consider strong enforcement action where advertisers don’t meet their obligations,’ he said.

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    ‘Having your registration cancelled means you cannot claim to be registered’ says AHPRA as regulators win conviction

    09 Aug 2018

    Mr Marek Jantos has been sentenced in the Adelaide Magistrates Court this week after being convicted of holding himself out as a registered psychologist and unlawfully using a specialist medical title, following charges laid by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

    A company operated by Mr Jantos, Behavioural Medicine Institute of Australia, was also convicted of misleading and deceptive advertising.

    Mr Jantos and his company were fined a total of $16,000.

    Mr Jantos pleaded guilty to two charges which included unlawfully claiming to be a specialist in the field of ‘pain medicine’ and unlawfully claiming to be a registered psychologist. The Behavioural Medicine Institute of Australia pleaded guilty to a charge of false, misleading or deceptive advertising of a regulated health service.

    In 2007, Mr Jantos’ registration as a psychologist was cancelled by the then Psychology Board of South Australia. At the time the Board maintained the decision was necessary ‘in order to protect the public from similar behaviour.’ The behaviour considered by the Board included invasive physical therapy in the context of psychological treatment.

    AHPRA alleged that between 21 May 2014 and 30 June 2014, Mr Jantos displayed signage at his business premises stating he was a Member of the Australian Psychological Society (MAPS). Mr Jantos has not been a registered psychologist since 25 June 2007 and resigned his membership of MAPS on 6 May 2008. This and other examples of signage at his premises could have falsely led patients to believe he was a registered psychologist.

    In addition, AHPRA alleged that between 17 April 2014 and 30 June 2014 Mr Jantos used terminology that would lead patients to believe he was a medical specialist. On a referral form he included the title ‘Dr Marek Jantos PhD’ in conjunction with ‘Chronic Urogenital Pain Clinics’ along with sections to be completed by the ‘Referring Doctor.’ This referral form, along with an advertising placard displayed at the premises advertising pain medicine, indicated that Mr Jantos was qualified as a specialist medical practitioner in the field of pain medicine when he was not.

    Mr Jantos’ own website and other websites also misled the public by referring to Mr Jantos using words such as ‘clinician’ and stating ‘his clinical specialty is Behavioural Medicine.’ On one website he was described as ‘one of Australia’s pioneering clinicians in the therapeutic management of female sexual pain disorders.’

    AHPRA CEO Martin Fletcher said the outcome underlines the important role of the law relating to registration of health practitioners to ensure patient safety.

    ‘Under the National Law, anyone who calls themselves any of the ‘protected titles’, such as ‘medical practitioner’ or ‘psychologist’, including specialist titles, must be registered.. If someone’s registration is cancelled they cannot misrepresent themselves as being a registered health practitioner.

    ‘This case also shows investigations relating to individuals falsely claiming to be a registered health practitioner can be multifaceted. They can involve multiple professions, in this case medicine and psychology, and offending can occur through a variety of media including physical advertising, internet-related behaviour, and even the printed material and information found in consulting rooms.’

    Medical Board of Australia Chair, Dr Joanna Flynn AM and Psychology Board of Australia Chair, Professor Brin Grenyer reflected that this case reaffirms the vital role the public Register of practitioners plays in protecting the public.

    ‘The online register lets patients check if a doctor is registered and meets Australian standards. It helps them make informed decisions, which improve patient safety,’ Dr Flynn said.

    ‘Protecting the public is of paramount importance to National Boards. If someone believes that they are being treated by a person who is not registered or who might be misusing a protected title we want to know about it. If a patient cannot find a health practitioner on the register – please think twice about going to see them and let AHPRA know on 1300 419 495,’ Professor Grenyer added.

    Make sure you are seeing a registered health practitioner

    It is a serious matter if anyone who is not a registered health practitioner claims to be a registered health practitioner or uses titles that are protected under the National Law (e.g. medical practitioner or psychologist). Both are offences and may be prosecuted by AHPRA.

    The National Law protects the public by ensuring that only registered health practitioners who are suitably trained and qualified are able to use protected titles. The law allows for penalties to be issued by the Court for using protected titles or holding out as a registered practitioner when not entitled to. The maximum penalty which a court may impose per charge is $30,000 (in the case of an individual) or $60,000 (in the case of a body corporate).

    It is important that you ensure that the practitioner you are seeing is appropriately registered. Anyone receiving treatment from a person who is claiming to be registered when they are not is a cause for concern. Remember to check the Register of practitioners or you can raise a concern by calling 1300 419 495.
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    National Boards support more public information on register

    29 Oct 2018

    Changes to the national Register of practitioners will make it easier to access public information about health practitioners across Australia as National Boards decide to link to publicly available tribunal and court decisions where serious allegations have been proven.
    The online Register of practitioners has accurate, up-to-date information about the registration status of all registered health practitioners in Australia. As decisions are made about a practitioner’s registration renewal or disciplinary proceedings, the register is updated to inform the public about the current status of individual practitioners and any restrictions placed upon their practice.
    In March 2018, the Medical Board of Australia started publishing links to disciplinary decisions by courts and tribunals when there has been an adverse finding about a doctor. This approach will now apply progressively to all registered health practitioners when serious allegations have been proven.
    National Boards have decided to introduce links to public tribunal decisions when serious allegations have been proven, in the interests of transparency and on the recommendation of the Independent review of the use of chaperones to protect patients in Australia.
    No information about the notifications received by National Boards and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) will be published. The change is simply helping to make already publicly available information easier to find.
    AHPRA CEO Mr Martin Fletcher said making this information more accessible was fair and in the public interest.
    ‘Consumers, employers and practitioners will be able to find public information more easily, to inform healthcare choices and employment decisions.
    ‘The register is an online, easy to use database where the public, employers and practitioners can check the details of over 700,000 health practitioners across 15 health professions,’ he said.
    ‘Members of the public are encouraged to check the register as part of deciding to see a health practitioner. Checking the register is an additional assurance that their practitioner is complying with their legal obligations and meets the standards set for their profession.
    ‘This helps protect people through increased transparency and more complete information to make informed decisions about the care they receive,’ Mr Fletcher said.
    Links will be added for any new decision or outcome as they are received. By early 2019, links will be added for all relevant decisions dating back to when each National Board joined the National Scheme.
    Search the register at www.ahpra.gov.au/registration/registers-of-practitioners.
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    Accreditation arrangements for the podiatry profession
    09 Jan 2019
    Following a scheduled review of accreditation arrangements that was undertaken across all National Boards, the Podiatry Board of Australia (Board) decided in July 2018 that the accreditation functions for the podiatry profession will be exercised by an independent accreditation committee established by the Board for a five-year period from 1 July 2019.

    The Board and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) acknowledge the work of the Australian and New Zealand Podiatry Accreditation Council (ANZPAC) in undertaking the accreditation functions for the podiatry profession under the National Law since July 2010. The Board appreciates the contribution of the ANZPAC Board and Committees, and other individuals working with ANZPAC to the National Scheme and thanks them for their role in ensuring high quality education and training of podiatrists and podiatric surgeons in Australia.

    ANZPAC will continue to accredit and monitor podiatry and podiatric surgery education programs and assess overseas qualified podiatrists until 30 June 2019. The Board, ANZPAC and AHPRA are working together to ensure a smooth transition of this work to the Podiatry Accreditation Committee on 1 July 2019.

    The Board has published a call for applications for membership of the Podiatry Accreditation Committee with information about the role, eligibility requirements and the application process.
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    Practitioners’ responsibility to support public health programs

    08 May 2019
    Australia’s health regulators have reminded health practitioners about their responsibility to support public health programs, including vaccination.
    Regulators have spoken out to support public safety, given mounting concerns about a five year high in measles cases and an early spike in flu cases this year.
    The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and the National Boards for 16 professions have urged more than 740,000 registered health practitioners to take seriously their responsibilities for public health, including by helping patients to be protected from preventable illnesses.
    AHPRA CEO Martin Fletcher reminded practitioners that supporting public health programs, including vaccination and immunisation, and not promoting anti-vaccination views were regulatory responsibilities.
    ‘Registered health practitioners have a regulatory responsibility to support patients to understand the evidence-based information available,’ Mr Fletcher said.
    National Boards set codes, standards and guidelines, including about protecting and promoting the health of individuals and the community, which they expect registered health practitioners to meet.
    ‘Practitioners are of course entitled to hold personal beliefs, but they must ensure that they do not contradict or counter public health campaigns, including about the efficacy or safety of public health initiatives,’ he said.
    Dr Anne Tonkin, Medical Board of Australia Chair, said doctors played a central role in guiding families’ decisions about their healthcare, with the vast majority of doctors actively supporting public health vaccination programs.
    ‘Patients trust their doctors to give them accurate information. After speaking with their doctor, no parent should be confused about the evidence base for vaccinating their children or the public interest in doing so,’ she said.
    Associate Professor Lynette Cusack Chair of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia said that the Code of conduct for nurses and the Code of conduct for midwives is clear that nurses/midwives must understand and promote the principles of public health, such as health promotion activities and information, including about vaccination.
    ‘Nurses and midwives are among the most trusted source of health promotion information. We expect them to provide advice based on the best available evidence concerning immunisations and vaccination. This is set out in their profession’s standards for practice.
    Chiropractic Board of Australia Chair Dr Wayne Minter considers practitioners have a duty of care to make the needs of their patients their first concern and must practise in an evidence-based and patient-centred manner.
    ‘It’s important that chiropractors get the right information to their patients. We expect practitioners to provide patients with evidence-based information in accordance with established guidelines for vaccinations. I encourage all patients seeking vaccination advice to speak with their medical practitioner in the first instance,’ he said.
    If practitioners do not comply and meet the professional standards set by their National Board, regulators can and do take action.
    National Boards and AHPRA have taken action to manage risk to the public, in response to a number of concerns raised about practitioners (including medical practitioners, nurses and chiropractors) who have advocated against evidence-based vaccination programs. This has included restricting practitioners’ practice pending further investigation, when there was a serious risk to the public.
    Regulatory action to manage public health risk has included requiring a practitioner to remove comments or material from websites, restricting practitioners from promulgating non-evidence based anti-vaccination material and cautioning practitioners against publicly advocating a position that is not evidence-based.
    ‘We take seriously any case of practitioners spreading dangerous and misleading anti-vaccination information including on social media. They will face regulatory action or prosecution. We are asking the public to tell us if their practitioner is doing this. If you raise your concerns with us we can investigate and protect others,’ Mr Fletcher added.
    Anyone who has concern about a registered health practitioner is encouraged to report this to AHPRA so the concerns can be investigated, by calling 1300 419 495 or visiting the AHPRA website: www.ahpra.gov.au.
    For more information

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    Podiatry Board launches videos to support practitioners applying for an endorsement for scheduled medicines

    13 May 2019
    The Podiatry Board of Australia set the requirements for a podiatrist or podiatric surgeon to have their registration endorsed for scheduled medicines. New videos are now available to help practitioners understand the requirements for endorsement.
    Endorsement for scheduled medicines registration standard and associated guidelines came into effect on 1 August 2018.
    The Board has published two new animated videos to help practitioners understand the application process for an endorsement for scheduled medicines under Pathway B of the registration standard.
    One video explains the key steps for Pathway B, and the other highlights the key role a mentor plays in supporting a practitioner’s learning during the supervised practice period under Pathway B.
    Board Chair, A/Prof Cylie Williams, believes the two animated videos will help podiatrists and podiatric surgeons understand the process in order to apply for an endorsement for scheduled medicines under Pathway B.
    ‘Applying for an endorsement for scheduled medicines under Pathway B can appear complex. These videos provide an accessible overview to make these processes clearer,’ she said.
    ‘During Pathway B, it is important for both practitioners working towards endorsement and their mentors understand the importance of this mentoring relationship, and all the ways they can communicate during this time,’ she added.
    The videos are available below and on the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)

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