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REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS FOR HEALTH-CARE WORKERS

Part 1 – Introduction to the National Code


Complying with all legal and regulatory requirements is a fundamental part of any business, including as a health-care practitioner such as a massage therapist, counsellor, or a therapist of another unregistered health-care modality.


If you practise in health-care, are you aware of all the requirements you need to meet? This 2 part series contains a factual update for you, to support you in knowing what is needed.


The first thing to know is that health-care in Australia is provided by two types of professionals:

1. Registered health-care providers, such as doctors, dentists, physiotherapists and others, who are registered by a National Board for their profession governed by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). They are subject to the codes and guidelines set by their National Board.


2. Unregistered health-care providers, who fall outside the above registration scheme, such as massage therapists, counsellors, naturopaths, nutritionists, paramedics, pharmacy assistants, herbalists and others.


In 2015, the terms of a National Code of Conduct for health care workers (the National Code) were endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) health ministers. It was up to the states and territories to adopt the National Code through legislation in their state/territory. An update on this is below:

New South Wales

  • NSW has had a code of conduct for unregistered health-care workers since 2008.

  • A copy of the code can be downloaded here.

Victoria

  • Victoria enacted the National Code in 2017, and in Victoria it is called the Code of Conduct for General Health Services (the General Code).

  • A copy of the code can be downloaded here.

  • Further information on the General Code can be found here.

Queensland

  • The National Code was enacted in Queensland in 2015. A copy of the code in Queensland can be downloaded here.

  • Further information on the National Code in Queensland can be downloaded here.

South Australia

  • South Australia has had a code of conduct for unregistered healthcare practitioners since 2013. A copy of the code can be downloaded here.

  • The South Australian code linked to above will apply until the code and associated legislation are amended in response to the National Code. Further information can be obtained here.

From the information available to date, other states and territories have not yet enacted the National Code. However, irrespective of whether your particular state or territory has enacted a code of conduct, we strongly recommend that you follow the principles outlined in the National Code. Further information can be obtained here. If you live in one of the above states, your compliance is obviously required under your state law.


Next week, in the final part of this series, we will outline the main principles of the National Code and therefore what all unregistered health-care workers should be aware of and comply with in their provision of a compliant service.


Of course, meeting the requirements of the Code will be a natural priority for all health-care workers who bring a true commitment to quality of care for their clients – as taught by our Team.



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