As health practitioner, you would have had to satisfy certain requirements in order to become a registered and accredited health provider in your field.
But did you know that you also have a legal responsibility regarding the way you promote your business and services?
What is AHPRA compliance?
In order to ensure that the public is able to make informed healthcare choices, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) has strict regulations about what health practitioners can and cannot say in all their advertising material.
And when they refer to advertising material, they mean all forms of printed and electronic media, including your website and patient testimonials.
Section 133 of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law states that “a person must not advertise a regulated health service or a business that provides a regulated health service, in a way that is false, misleading or deceptive or is likely to be misleading or deceptive, or
- offers a gift, discount or other inducement to attract a person to use the service or the business, unless the advertisement also states the terms and conditions of the offer, or
- uses testimonials or purported testimonials about the service or business, or
- creates an unreasonable expectation of beneficial treatment, or
- directly or indirectly encourages the indiscriminate or unnecessary use of regulated health services.”
Yeah. It’s a lot!
Why is AHPRA compliance a big deal?
AHPRA helps National Boards protect the public and manage risks by ensuring that health practitioners provide their patients with accurate, up-to-date information, that allows them to make an informed choice about their treatment.
Advertising can heavily influence the decisions that patients make when choosing their healthcare needs. Using false, misleading or deceptive claims in promoting and advertising your practice, means that your patients are not able to make informed choices based on all the evidence.
Who needs to be AHPRA compliant?
All health practitioners need to be AHPRA compliant. This includes:
- Chinese Medicine Practitioners (acupuncturists)
- Medical Practitioners
- Occupational Therapists
What happens if you’re not compliant?
Quite simply, you can be fined a lot of money.
As a registered health practitioner, it’s YOU who is liable if there is a breach in these guidelines. Not your staff, or a contractor. And even if you don’t mean to breach the guidelines, or you weren’t aware you were breaching them, you can still be in trouble for not being AHPRA compliant.
Being in breach of the AHPRA guidelines is a criminal offence, and currently carries a fine of up to $5,000 per offence for individuals and $10,000 per offence for a body corporate. Under the National Law, you may also have a restriction placed on your health practitioner registration, which may affect your ability to practice.
I’m sure you could do without any of that!
How I can help
Of course, these guidelines are freely available on AHPRA’s site, so you can always check them yourself and make sure that everything you say and write about your business, including the testimonials you use on your site or on social media are compliant.
However, this can be time consuming, and take you away from the business of actually treating patients.
But I can help!
While I’m not a legal professional, I fully understand the need to be AHPRA compliant and how the rules and regulations of the guidelines apply to health practitioners.
I can write or review your copy to ensure you’re AHPRA compliant, so you can focus on what you do best — treating your patients.
Contact me today about making sure you’re compliant with AHPRA legislation.
“Able to translate complex subject matter for a general audience.”
Nerissa assisted with the development of a number of fact sheets about mental health and psychiatry for the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists. I engaged Nerissa due to her experience with the subject matter, professional approach when dealing with senior clinicians and experts and ability to distil and translate complex subject matter for a general audience. I found her to be extremely professional, well organised and able to work flexibly with our requirements. I would recommend Nerissa for your next content project.
Want help with AHPRA compliance?
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I'm Nerissa Bentley
I'm a health communications specialist and I've helped many health institutions, national brands and medical organisations develop credible, thoroughly-researched, easy-to-understand health content. Now I'm ready to help you.
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As featured on The Hot Copy Podcast
As featured on The Clever Copywriting School