Completed Reviews of the Regulation of the Health Professions
2002 – 2005: Review of the Regulation of the Health Professions in VictoriaBackground
The previous Victorian model of health practitioner registration was introduced in 1993-94, with the passage of the Nurses Act 1993 and the Medical Practice Act 1994. Eight new Acts of Parliament were subsequently passed and common core provisions to regulate the registered health professions were introduced. However, not all of the health practitioner registration Acts were updated to incorporate the modern provisions.
In May 2002, the Victorian Parliament passed a series of significant reforms to the Medical Practice Act 1994. These included powers for the Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria to regulate practitioners who may have been performing poorly, and powers to regulate corporate owners of medical practices. It was therefore considered timely to re-examine the legislation and consider whether the reforms introduced since 1993-94 in various Acts should be extended to cover all of the registered health professions. Such a review would provide the opportunity not only to update all of the health practitioner registration Acts, but also to review the Victorian model of health practitioner regulation to ensure that the legislative framework satisfactorily equipped the registration boards to protect the public and address emerging challenges in the regulation of the health professions.
Following a public announcement by the then Minister for Health, the Hon John Thwaites MP, the department’s r eview of the r egulation of the h ealth p rofessions commenced in late 2002.
Objectives and guiding principles
The review had three main objectives:
- To ensure the framework for regulating Victoria's health professionals wa s up-to-date, responsive and equipped health practitioner registration Boards to protect the public and address emerging challenges.
- To promote consumer and community confidence in the operation of Victoria's regulatory scheme.
- To ensure good links existed between the mechanisms that oversee practitioner quality and those that ensure health system quality.
There were a number of principles for reform that guided the review:
- Accountability: registration boards should be accountable to the Victorian community for their decisions and operations.
- Transparency: the decision-making processes of registration boards should be open, clear, and understandable to both consumers and professionals.
- Fairness: registration boards should maintain an acceptable balance between protection of patients/consumer rights and interests, and those of the regulated health professionals.
- Effectiveness: the regulatory system should be effective in protecting the public from harm, whilst supporting and fostering the provision of high quality care.
- Efficiency: the resources expended and the administrative burden imposed by the health professions regulatory system should be justified in terms of the benefits to the Victorian community.
- Flexibility: the regulatory system should be able to respond to emerging issues in a timely manner as the health care system evolves and the roles and functions of health professionals change.
- Consistency: there should be consistency across Australian states and territories in the regulatory arrangements for the health professions.
Discussion Paper - October 2003
A discussion paper, released in October 2003, provided an opportunity for practitioners, professional associations and interested consumers to comment on proposals for the reform of the Victorian health professions regulatory system.
Regulation of the Health Profession in Victoria: A Discussion Paper, October 2003
Regulation of the Health Profession in Victoria: A Discussion Paper, October 2003 - Executive Summary (PDF File 140.7KB)
Options Paper - April 2005
Following consideration of the issues raised in the submissions to the discussion paper, the Department released an options paper in April 2005. The options paper presented various proposals for structural and legislative reform.
To allow interested parties to comment on the issues raised in the discussion paper, the Department held a further round of consultation early in May 2005 , following which, the proposed reforms were finalised and Approval in Principle was granted to commence drafting new legislation.
Various minor reforms were introduced by the Health Legislation (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act 2005, which was passed by the Victorian Parliament on 19 July 2005. These minor reforms were identified through the review process as amendments that could be made immediately to improve the functionality and administration of various boards.However, the key result of the Review was the passage of the Health Professions Registration Act 2005, which came into operation on 1 July 2007.
As part of the Review the Regulation of the Health Professions in Victoria, a range of research projects were commissioned. Copies of the research reports and associated documents are below.
Following the receipt of 17 submissions to the Review’s Discussion Paper, in November 2004, the Minister for Health requested the Health Services Commissioner conduct an Inquiry, under section 9(1)(m) of the Health Services (Conciliation and Review) Act 1987, into the practice of ‘recovered memory therapy’ in Victoria.For more information, refer to the Inquiry into the Practice of Recovered Memory Therapy