Health ministers consider major changes to disciplinary rules

Wrongdoers could find it more difficult to put their past behind them

Pharmacists who have had a brush with the law could find it more difficult to put their past behind them, as health ministers consider legislative changes.

big brother sign concept

Among the ideas being canvassed is expanding the information available on the public register to include disciplinary history, along with any criminal charges, convictions and bail conditions.

In addition to giving patients more information, it could also provide protection to pharmacists, according to a consultation document released by the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council.

“An accurate, up-to-date public register is a means of protecting a practitioner’s professional reputation,”the document states.

Such a register would help mitigate against the type of damage that could be done to a health professional’s reputation through false claims, including those on social media.

Other reforms being considered could mean:

  • Pharmacists have to notify the Pharmacy Board of any professional negligence settlements or judgements;
  • Pharmacists whose registration is suspended or cancelled would need to reapply for registration rather than have it automatically reinstated once the sanction ends;
  • Employers have to notify the board if they restrict a pharmacist’s scope of practice due to patient safety concerns;
  • The Pharmacy Board would have the power to request patient records during an initial assessment of a pharmacist;
  • Former employers would be notified if a pharmacist’s registration status changes and it’s possible patients may have been harmed; and
  • Patients or others who alert the Board to concerns about a pharmacist could seek a review if they are not happy the outcome of disciplinary hearings

Pharmacists wanting to provide feedback on the reforms have until midnight 31 October to make a submission.

Have your say here.