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!
“Knowledgeable AHPRA compliance specialist.”
We hired Nerissa to help our writing team gain a better knowledge of crafting web copy for Australian healthcare clients that doesn’t violate rules or regulations put forth by AHPRA.
She provided us with a compliance manual that was not only well-crafted and thoughtful but continues to help us provide better content for our own clients while staying within the rules and guidelines of AHPRA.
Nerissa was easy and prompt to work with, and even let us review a draft of the material for any requests we wanted her to go into greater detail on. I would definitely recommend her services to anyone in need of a knowledgeable AHPRA compliance specialist!
How I can help
Of course, these guidelines are freely available on AHPRA’s site. However, navigating these can be confusing and checking your advertising can be time consuming.
Especially if you’re busy treating patients.
That’s where I can help!
Click on the links below to find out more.
You can also read my blog on How to get AHPRA compliant testimonials
Need my help?
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 Clever Copywriting School
“Nerissa has a great understanding of AHPRA regulations.”
Working with The Melbourne Health Writer has been a real pleasure. Nerissa has a great understanding of AHPRA regulations and is extremely thorough in the way that she reviews content. Communication was excellent and I will have no hesitation in using Nerissa’s services again in the future.