Ahpra Announces Greater Protection For WA Patients With New Law Reforms

The new Act has been described to strengthen the regulation of health practitioners and enhance public protection in Western Australia.

Earlier this month, Western Australia enhanced the regulation of health practitioners and public protection by enacting changes to the National Law as it applies in the state.

The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Application Act introduces several changes, including the protection of the title “surgeon” for medical practitioners. It also empowers the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) and National Boards to issue public warnings about individual practitioners posing serious, unmanaged risks to public health and safety.

This Act brings Western Australia more in line with other states and territories, establishing a framework for adopting future National Law changes while maintaining the ability to make necessary modifications and disallow amendments.

Most changes are already in effect, with some scheduled to start later this year on a date agreed upon by the Governments. Mandatory reporting obligations for all WA registered health practitioners remain unchanged.

Ahpra’s chief executive, Martin Fletcher, emphasised the importance of the WA Bill in ensuring more consistent health practitioner regulation across Australia, benefiting patient safety.

“These amendments show the commitment of Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson and all Australian Health Ministers to keep the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme relevant and focused on public protection,” said Martin. “This legislation also acknowledges the unique needs of the WA community and health sector, allowing for an efficient mechanism to apply future National Law changes.”

“I commend the WA State Government and Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson. The amendments underscore the crucial role of regulators in creating public value, minimising harm, and protecting the community. These changes ensure Western Australia stays aligned with the National Law applied in other jurisdictions while being flexible to local needs.”

Professor Mark Edwards, Chair of the WA Board of the Medical Board of Australia.

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