When there is a health concern
Medical laboratory science practitioners and anaesthetic technicians get sick too, and when they do, their illness mustn’t interfere with their ability to practise safely. A practitioner must always be able to practise without putting patients or the public at risk.
What is defined as an ‘ability to perform the functions required to practise’?
Any health practitioner registered with the Council who, because of a mental or physical condition, cannot:
- Make safe judgments.
- Demonstrate acceptable levels of competence.
- Behave appropriately following ethical, legal and practice guidelines.
- Not act in ways that adversely impact on patient safety.
Conditions affecting a practitioner’s ability to practise
- alcohol or drug dependence
- any impairment that occurs because of drug or alcohol abuse
- psychiatric problems
- temporary stress reaction
- medical conditions affecting motor skills or cognition
What happens when the Council receives a health notification?
If the practitioner acknowledges that their practice is affected by a health condition, the Council will discuss an option for them to voluntarily either limit their practice or cease to practise while the situation is explored further.
- Surrendering their annual practising certificate.
- Putting into effect any agreed limitation on practice.
- Requiring them to submit to a medical examination by a medical practitioner approved by the Council.
The practitioner is given a copy of the medical practitioner’s report and allowed to make written submissions and be heard on the matter. If the report indicates the existence of a condition that affects their practise, the Council may also gather additional relevant information from colleagues and other related professional people (e.g. pharmacist, employer). The practitioner will be informed of this before any such persons being approached.
The Council will pay for the full cost of a medical examination and report.
Decisions the Council can make following a health review
- If the practitioner is unable to perform the functions of their scope of practice, it must, in accordance with the Act, order that they are suspended from practise.
- If the practitioner can perform the functions of their scope of practice but only if certain conditions are observed, it must, in accordance with the Act, order that conditions be placed on their scope of practice.
The Council will continue to monitor the practitioner until they have fully recovered and are safe to practise unrestricted in their registered scope of practice.