Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Draft Amendment Bill introduced into Queensland Parliament

In a watershed moment in the formal enactment process of paramedic registration, the Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services introduced the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2017 (the Bill) to the Queensland Parliament on 13 June 2017. The Bill has been referred to the Health, Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee (the committee) for consideration. The committee is required to report to the Parliament by Friday 11 August 2017.
The Bill includes the following amendments to the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (the National Law) agreed by the Council of Australian Governments Health Council, sitting as the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council (COAG Health Council) on 29 May 2017:
  • national regulation of paramedics, including the establishment of a Paramedicine Board of Australia
  • enabling the COAG Health Council to make changes to the structure of National Boards by regulation following consultation
  • recognition of nursing and midwifery as two separate professions, rather than a single profession, with the professions continuing to be regulated by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia
  • improvements to the complaints (notifications) management, disciplinary and enforcement powers of National Boards to strengthen public protection and ensure fairness for complainants (notifiers) and practitioners, and
  • technical amendments to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the National Law.

The Bill also amends the Health Ombudsman Act 2013 to:

  • make consequential amendments as a result of the proposed changes to the National Law, and
  • make changes requested by the Health Ombudsman, as part of the committee’s Inquiry into the performance of the Queensland Health’s functions pursuant to section 179 of the Health Ombudsman Act 2013. These include:

–          enabling the Health Ombudsman to vary decisions to take immediate actions

–          clarifying that an investigation may be ‘continued’ after immediate action, and

–          the ability to waiver the right to receive three-monthly notices about the progress of investigation.

Call for submissions

The committee is now seeking submissions on the Bill. The closing date for submissions is Tuesday 4 July 2017 at 4.00pm. The Bill and Explanatory Notes are available at these links. A draft of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Amendment Regulation 2017 tabled by the Minister is available at this link.