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Unregistered Health Practitioners

The South Australian Code of Conduct for Unregistered Health Practitioners are minimum standards for all unregistered health practitioners that are not part of the National Registration Scheme overseen by AHPRA. Unregistered health practitioners must display certain information where they practice. The Code includes a requirement that all health practitioners with serious concerns about the treatment provided by another health practitioner refer the matter to the Health and Community Services Complaint Commissioner (HCSCC). This requirement is in addition to an employer’s internal procedures for reporting complaints or concerns.

Forthcoming National code of conduct

In 2015, COAG agreed to implement a National Code of Conduct for Health Care Workers.  The South Australian Code of Conduct for Unregistered Health Practitioners will apply until some changes are made to the South Australian Code of Conduct and the Health and Community Services Complaints Act 2004 during 2016. .

Purpose of the Code of Conduct for Unregistered Health Practitioners

The Code of Conduct promotes safety and quality in health services by establishing a code of conduct for all health practitioners who are not covered by AHPRA.

Who has to comply with the Code of Conduct?

The Code applies to all unregistered health practitioners, defined as someone who provides a health service and does not need to be registered with a registration authority in order to provide this service. This can include:

  • any health practitioner who is not within the ambit of AHPRA such as social work, speech pathology, dietetics, paramedicine, audiology, sonography, homeopathy, naturopathy or iridology.
  • health practitioners whose registration has been suspended or cancelled by AHPRA and who seek to practice in an area which does not require registration
  • registered health practitioners who also provide health services that are unrelated to their registration, for example a physiotherapist who provides reiki therapy.

Reporting serious concerns about the treatment provided by another health practitioner to the HCSCC (Item 6.4 of the Code of Conduct) applies to all health practitioners.

Breaches of the Code of Conduct

  • The HCSCC may make a prohibition order if a health practitioner is found to have breached the Code of Conduct following an investigation.
  • A prohibition order is made when the HCSCC is of the opinion the health practitioner poses an unacceptable risk to the health or safety of members of the public.
  • An order may prohibit a health practitioner from providing health services, or specified health services, for a specified period of time or permanently. An interim order may also be made.

Displaying the Code of Conduct

In addition to complying with the Code of Conduct, practitioners are required to display:

  • a copy of a plain English version of the Code of Conduct
  • information about how a complaint may be made to the HCSCC
  • evidence of a relevant qualification held by the health practitioner

The requirement to display this material does not apply to any of the following premises:

  • premises of any private or public hospital (within the meaning of the Health Care Act 2008)
  • premises of any health service established or licensed under the Health Care Act 2008
  • premises of any day procedure centre
  • premises of the SA Ambulance Service Inc
  • premises of an approved aged care service provider within the meaning of the Aged Care Act 1997 (Commonwealth).

Contact

Ms Lee Wightman, Principal Consultant

Policy and Intergovernment Relations
SA Health
Telephone: (08) 8226 7089

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