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By Rhiannon Riches

 

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) has introduced a new procedure for checking practitioners’ international criminal history.

The new approach, introduced on 4 February, is designed to provide greater public protection. AHPRA and the National Boards will pilot this approach and after 12 months evaluate its effectiveness.

AHPRA CEO Martin Fletcher said public protection was at the heart of everything AHPRA did.

‘We are providing the Australian community with greater assurance by implementing additional safeguards in managing risks to the public from someone’s international criminal history. The new approach aligns our international criminal history checks with our domestic history checks and aims to be fair and reasonable for practitioners,’ Mr Fletcher said.

AHPRA announced the change on its website in November last year, giving prospective applicants three months notice of the change, and time to understand the new requirements before taking effect.

The new procedure requires certain applicants and practitioners to apply for an international criminal history check (ICHC) from an AHPRA approved supplier. The supplier will provide the ICHC report to the applicant and directly to AHPRA.

New applicants

All new applicants seeking registration as health practitioners in Australia will need to apply for an ICHC if they:

•  declare a criminal history outside Australia, and/or

•  have lived in one or more countries other than Australia for six consecutive months or more since the age of 18 years.

Registered practitioners

Currently registered practitioners will need to apply for an ICHC if they:

•  are seeking to renew their registration or applying for a change in registration type, and there has been a change to their criminal history in one or more countries other than Australia since their last declaration to AHPRA

•  at any time of the year, inform the relevant National Board that they have been charged with an offence outside Australia that is punishable by a sentence of 12 months imprisonment or more; or convicted of, have pleaded guilty to or are the subject of a finding of guilt by a court for an offence, outside Australia, that is punishable by imprisonment.

For more information, visit www.ahpra.gov.au.

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