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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 5225 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

This bill proposes comprehensive reform in these areas. The bill sets out a process for the reporting or identifying of concerns about the standard of practice of a registered health professional. The bill also requires the involvement of the Community and Health Services Complaints Commissioner in the management of all such reports. There are revised options for the resolution of such reports including inquiry by either personal standards or professional standards panels that are convened by health boards. These panels are intended to have a proactive and rehabilitative approach.

The bill proposes that a health professional tribunal will now hear all reports that may lead to the suspension or deregistration of a health professional. The health tribunal may also conduct a review of a health board decision. The president of the tribunal will be a magistrate. The bill provides protection for persons who provide information in relation to a report and protection for those involved in a proceeding. The bill also retains provisions relating to the offences of pretending to be a registered health professional or providing a regulated health service when not registered in a health profession.

The bill contains transitional provisions to ensure that all existing registration proceedings, conditions, appointments and appeal rights continue as if they had occurred under the new act. In introducing the bill at this time I have sought to provide members with ample opportunity to consider the reform proposals. The bill will be supported by regulations concerning the operational aspects of the legislation. Further time is required to complete consultation and documentation of these regulations. To ensure effective management of reports or complaints about registered health professionals, some consequential changes to the Community and Health Services Complaints Act 1993 will also be required. The consequential amendments are currently being finalised.

This bill will enhance our capacity to protect the community by ensuring that the people who provide a regulated health service are competent to provide such services. Those who administer the legislation on behalf of the government including, of course, the boards, keenly anticipate this legislation, which is needed by the community. I commend the Health Professionals Bill 2003 to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Smyth ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Nurse Practitioners Legislation Amendment Bill 2003

Mr Corbell, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.

Title read by clerk.

MR CORBELL (Minister for Health and Minister for Planning) (11.34): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Establishing the role of nurse practitioner is part of the government's commitment to build a strong, sustainable nursing work force in the territory, as highlighted in the ACT Health Action Plan 2002. In December 2002 the Chief Minister, Mr Stanhope, launched the report of the successful trial of the nurse practitioner role. The report recommended regulation and endorsement of the nurse practitioner role. It also identified the processes of authorisation and credentialing that were necessary to protect the title of nurse

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