Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia
Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia
 

March 2017

Contents


Message from the Chair

On behalf of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA), I’m very pleased to announce that Nurse & Midwife Support is now available across Australia.

This confidential support service for nurses and midwives offers advice on health issues via a 24/7 phone service and a comprehensive website.

While Nurse & Midwife Support is an NMBA initiative, it’s run independently of the NMBA and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) – so we don’t receive any information about you from the service.

I really encourage every nurse and midwife to put the Nurse & Midwife Support number in your phone right now – 1800 667 877 – so it will be there if you or a colleague ever need it.

This service will offer specialist, confidential health support so that nurses and midwives across Australia can continue to provide safe and quality care.

It’s a great moment for the nursing and midwifery professions in Australia.

Associate Professor Lynette Cusack RN
Chair, Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia

Associate Professor Lynette Cusack RN

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NMBA news

Nurse & Midwife Support now available

Nurse & Midwife Support, the first national health support service for nurses and midwives, was launched at the Melbourne Town Hall this month.

The service provides confidential and professional advice for nurses and midwives on a wide range of health issues, including mental health, addiction, illness and injury, and workplace stress.

Nurse & Midwife Support is an NMBA initiative, but is run independently by Turning Point, a leading provider of health support services.

Commonwealth Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer Debra Thoms officially opened the service, and called on all health agencies, professional organisations, employers and regulators to work together to better identify and support nurses and midwives with health issues.

‘Early action is the key to ensure that nurses and midwives are supported to receive the treatment they need, so that matters don’t end up with the NMBA,’ she said.

If you would like confidential, professional advice on a health issue or how to support someone with a health issue, you can call Nurse & Midwife Support anonymously on 1800 667 877 or you can visit the website www.nmsupport.org.au.

Various images of the Nurse & Midwife Support launch event
Photo: Nurse & Midwife Support launched at the Town Hall, Melbourne on 8 March 2017.

Updates from the February 2017 NMBA meeting

Each month the NMBA meets to make decisions on the regulation of nursing and midwifery in Australia.

At their February meeting, Board members reviewed the progress of the Midwife standards for practice project, which is currently being undertaken by Deakin University and is expected to open for public consultation in July 2017.

The NMBA welcomed a presentation from the National Program Manager of Notifications at AHPRA on the new online portal for complaints and concerns. More information about the online portal is available below in the National Scheme news section.

To see the February decisions on approved programs of study leading to registration and endorsement, please view the communiqué:

Nursing and midwifery regulation at work: Protecting the public in 2015/16

A profession-specific annual report summary that looks into the work of the NMBA over the year to 30 June 2016 has now been published.

The report draws on data from the 2015/16 annual report by AHPRA and the National Boards.

This information provides an overview of the nursing and midwifery professions as at 30 June 2016, and includes the number of applications for registration, outcomes of criminal history checks and segmentation of the registrant base by gender, age, profession and division, and principal place of practice.

Notifications information includes the number of complaints or concerns received, matters open and closed during the year, types of complaint, monitoring and compliance and matters involving immediate action.

Find out more in the full news item on the NMBA website.

To download this report, or to view the main 2015/16 annual report and summary reports by state or territory, visit the microsite.

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Registration

Changes to registration standards and guidelines summarised in new vodcast

This renewal period, nurses and midwives will need to comply with a number of changes to registration standards and guidelines which took effect on 1 June 2016.

The NMBA visited workplaces in every state and territory in 2016 to explain the changes in person, but for those who missed out on attending a session we’ve made a vodcast of the presentation.

Nurses and midwives can watch the short presentation via the news item. You’ll receive an email from AHPRA to let you know when online renewal opens. 

Registration renewal: Updating the national register

Registration renewal for nurses and midwives will open soon and we want to let you know that this year it will include an extra step.

When completing your renewal, you will be asked to check that your qualification(s) and the date you were first registered in Australia are recorded correctly on the online national register of practitioners.

We are including this as part of online renewal to make it easy for you to confirm and update these details if required. You will be helping us to maintain the integrity of the national register, which helps to protect the public.

The national register keeps the public safe in the knowledge that its health practitioners are registered and qualified. Under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory, the national register should include details of any qualification relied on by you to obtain registration.

Nursing and midwifery qualifications that do not lead to registration or endorsement are not regulated by the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme and therefore won’t appear on the register.

Look out for an email from AHPRA soon inviting you to renew online. 

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Nursing and midwifery regulation at work: Notification case studies

Midwife disqualified for 18 months for professional misconduct

A former midwife and registered nurse has been reprimanded and disqualified from applying for registration for 18 months for professional misconduct concerning a homebirth.

The State Administrative Tribunal of Western Australia (the tribunal) found Ms Theresa Clifford guilty of professional misconduct in relation to a number of failures in her care of a patient, including failure to practise in accordance with the National midwifery guidelines for consultation and referral.

For more information please read the news item.

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National Scheme news

AHPRA online portal for complaints or concerns launches

AHPRA has launched a new online portal to the public offering a clearer and simpler process when making a complaint or raising a concern about registered health practitioners and students.

The portal is an additional channel available through the AHPRA website. Alternatively, individuals can still call 1300 419 495 to make a complaint or raise a concern, while a PDF form also remains available for complainants.

The same standard applies to information and evidence regardless of whether the concern is raised online or by email, phone or form. The portal includes the requirement for a complainant to declare that the information provided in a complaint or concern is true and correct to the best of their knowledge and belief.

The online portal guides users to provide information that more readily enables proper assessment of their concerns. Automated correspondence is issued to all users of the portal, including a copy of their complaint or concern and advice that they will be contacted by a member of the AHPRA team within four days.

The portal is supported by website content about the way AHPRA manages complaints or concerns about health practitioners and students. Consultations revealed the term ‘notification’ is not commonly understood by the broader community. In response the term ‘complaint or concern’ replaces the term ‘notification’ in the portal and the website content.

Further enhancements will be made to the portal based on user feedback. 

Update on the status of investigations – health practitioners associated with Djerriwarrh Health Services (Bacchus Marsh)

In 2015 the Department of Health and Human Services (the Department) in Victoria was alerted to a cluster of potentially avoidable newborn and stillborn deaths at Bacchus Marsh Hospital (Djerriwarrh Health Services).

This led the Department to commission Dr Stephen Duckett to review hospital safety and quality assurance in Victoria.

From August 2015, AHPRA began investigating a number of registered health practitioners who practised at Bacchus Marsh Hospital at the time of this tragedy, and other matters which had been notified to AHPRA. As a risk-based regulator, AHPRA’s priority has been to make sure that any ongoing risk to the public from individual health practitioners has been addressed so patients are safer in the future.

AHPRA has now completed a number of investigations into health practitioners, including nurses and midwives, who worked at Bacchus Marsh Hospital at that time. For families who have suffered terrible loss, AHPRA’s focus has been on ensuring each investigation is thorough and fair and that they are properly informed about the outcome of an investigation.

To read the full statement, see the news item on AHPRA’s website. In this statement AHPRA provides an update on the number of investigations that have been closed and provides information on the range of outcomes that have resulted. Privacy provisions in the National Law limit what AHPRA can say about actions taken about individual practitioners.

Keep in touch with the NMBA

  • Visit the NMBA website for registration standards, codes, guidelines and FAQ.
  • Lodge an online enquiry form.
  • For registration enquiries, call 1300 419 495 (from within Australia) or +61 3 9275 9009 (for overseas callers).
  • Address mail correspondence to: Associate Professor Lynette Cusack RN, Chair, Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, GPO Box 9958, Melbourne, VIC 3001.

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Page reviewed 18/05/2017