AHPRA watching teledocs, health execs watching AHPRA

3 minute read

The regulator, along with three of the national boards, has flagged that it will be keeping a very close eye on single-issue telehealth pop-up clinics.

Single-issue online-only telehealth clinics have been put on notice, with AHPRA urging practitioners to “think carefully” before working with a business that may not reflect their professional obligations.  

Meanwhile, the Health Chief Executives’ Forum – which is made up of CEOs from each government health department – has its eye on AHPRA, with a new review to look at the complexities of the system.  

Led by former NSW Health Care Complaints Commissioner Sue Dawson, the complexity review was commissioned in response to media concerns about the management of professional misconduct by health practitioners.  

This appears to be a reference to a 2023 Four Corners report on doctors who have continued practising following a finding of sexual misconduct.  

It’s set to identify areas of “unproductive and unnecessary complexity”. 

Terms of reference include whether health ministers have sufficient powers to direct entities exercising accreditation functions, how current regulatory performance principles align with objectives and identifying options that would deliver more consumer-driven complaints management. 

It’s set to report by the end of the year.  

AHPRA CEO Martin Fletcher welcomed the review and said it would support moves to make health regulation more straightforward. 

“Australia’s health regulatory system has many moving parts, with a range of agencies and decision-makers which can make it difficult to navigate for consumers,” he said. 

“AHPRA and the National Boards look forward to working with other stakeholders to reduce the complexity and help make the system simpler and better for consumers.”  

Separately, Mr Fletcher also criticised emerging models of healthcare that are “dangerously disrupting the traditional therapeutic relationship” and “prioritising money-making over health”.  

The regulator said it was seeing evidence that health services were being specifically set up to funnel patients toward a single predetermined medicine supplied by a vertically integrated pharmacy. 

A joint statement signed by AHPRA and the Medical, Nursing and Midwifery and Pharmacy Boards of Australia outlines serious concerns for practitioners who get involved with single-issue telehealth. 

“[We] are also aware of reports of potentially vulnerable practitioners, particularly inexperienced or early career practitioners, who are being misled that their practice is acceptable when it is not,” the regulators wrote

Other concerns with these models included the lack of evidence to support safe prescribing of new medicines like cannabis, a lack of access to information about a patient and practice frameworks that are responding to patient demand rather than clinical need.  

Three areas that were identified as being particularly problematic were businesses supplying medical certificates without a real-time consultation, medicinal cannabis clinics and businesses that focus on the prescription of compounded GLP-1 receptor agonists.  


US telehealth providers heading for the exits

Patients taking online docs to AHPRA

Telehealth clinic promises bulk-billing GPs, delivers nurse practitioners

AMA president Professor Steve Robson said the association shared concerns around vertically integrated online services. 

“We’re really worried patients just wanting a medication and getting into … [what is essentially] a closed-loop prescribing service,” he told The Medical Republic.  

“We think they need extremely close scrutiny.” 

The preferred option, Professor Robson said, is that patients have an established relationship with a GP who can work with them long term across multiple issues.  

RACGP president Dr Nicole Higgins shares this view, and told TMR that loopholes in the system have been “exploited by big business and private equity”.  

End of content

No more pages to load

Log In Register ×