Over the last few months, we have written about our concerns regarding the proposed changes to the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2022. Chiefly our concerns were around the amendment granting the ability for Ahpra to publicly name health practitioners under investigation before an investigation is completed. AAPi was deeply concerned that this approach flies in the face of natural justice and the bedrock of our legal system of innocent until proven guilty. While the health and safety of the community are incredibly important, so too are the reputation, career and mental health of health professionals. We believe that Ahpra already had sufficient powers to protect the public and that this specific part of the legislation was unnecessary and potentially very damaging to health professionals, particularly those who are subject to vile vexatious complaints. Many peak bodies, including AMA and RACGP, also shared our concerns and were actively involved in the consultation. Unfortunately, AAPi was the only psychology peak body to oppose these changes through submissions, appearing before a senate select committee, and appealing to individual politicians to vote no to this problematic amendment.
Despite strong opposition from the health professional sector, this month, the legislation passed in Queensland. The national law changes are automatically applied in other states and territories, except in Western Australia, which is required to pass corresponding legislation, and New South Wales and South Australia, which must make regulations to apply the changes. We thank those politicians that did listen to the concerns of health professions and did oppose this change.
As mentioned, AAPi was only opposed to the reforms that we saw as problematic and not all aspects of the Amendment Bill 2022 are negative. There are many positives including the reform to include the cultural safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples as a guiding principle and objective.
Further information is available on the Ahpra website and via this information guide on how Ahpra will implement the changes.
We will continue to keep members updated with information and resources regarding these changes.