Medical practitioners will be permitted to renew their registration without completing continuing professional development (CPD) this year as part of the Medical Board of Australia’s concessions to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The move is one of several measures being offered by the Medical Board to ease the burden that the pandemic has places on doctors, which also include an offer to defer paying registration fees for practitioners in financial difficulty.
On CPD, the Medical Board say it will not take action against any doctor who has not been able to complete their CPD activities this year as a result of COVID-19.
“We encourage you to continue to do CPD that is relevant to your scope of practice. However, we know that many practitioners’ plans for CPD in 2020 were scuttled by COVID-19,” it says.
The Board’s usual requirement for CPD completion as a condition of registration will be relaxed where a doctor has genuinely been unable to meet CPD requirements for the 2020 year
“When you make your declaration about CPD when you renew your registration in 2020, be honest. Indicate if you did or didn’t meet the standard. The Board will not take action if you didn’t,” it advises.
The Board says it also recognises that some practitioners may be experiencing financial hardship because of COVID-19, and it will therefore offer a delayed payment plan for those affected .
Doctors who meet the criteria will be allowed to pay half the registration fee when they renew registration by 30 September, and the second instalment in early 2021.
The Medical Board is also reminding procedural practitioners that they will need to have regular checks for blood-borne virus under new disease control guidelines that come into effect from 6 July.
The rules require practitioners to “take reasonable steps to know their blood-borne virus status and are tested for blood-borne viruses at least once every three years” . They apply to any practitioner who performs exposure-prone procedures, and also those who are treat such practitioners.
Doctor do not have to submit test results to the Board for registration but will be expected to make a declaration that they commit to comply with the CDNA guidelines when they first register to practise, and when they renew their registration each year.
Exposure-prone procedures are defined as those where the practitioner’s hands (whether gloved or not) may be in contact with sharp instruments, needle tips or sharp tissues inside a patient’s open body cavity, wound or confined anatomical space where the hands or fingertips may not be completely visible at all times.