Since 14 March 2013 health practitioners who provide a service which is not registrable through AHPRA must comply with the Code of Conduct for Unregistered Health Practitioners [Health and Community Services Complaints Regulations 2005 (SA) Sch 2]. Examples of unregistered practitioners include alternative health therapists, paramedics, disability support workers, counsellors and social workers.
These practitioners must display evidence of their qualifications, a copy of the "plain English" version of the Code and information about how clients can make a complaint to the Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner [reg 5B].
What can the HCSCC do if the code is breached?
The Commissioner may commence an investigation upon receipt of a complaint or on his or her own motion [Health and Community Services Complaint Act 2004 (SA) s 43].
If the Commissioner has commenced an investigation and has a reasonable belief that the practitioner has breached the Code of Conduct (and it is necessary to protect the health or safety of members of the public) he or she may impose conditions on the practitioner's provision of service or prohibit the pracitioner's service for up to 12 weeks [s 56B].
If the Commissioner has completed an investigation and is satisfied that the practitioner has breached the Code of Conduct (and poses an unacceptable risk to the health or safety of members of the public), he or she may impose conditions on the practitioner's provision of service or prohibit the practitioner's service for a specified period or indefinitely [s 56C]. If such an order is made, the Commissioner must provide the practitioner (and any complainant) with a written statement outlining the Commissioner's findings, any material on which the findings were based and the reasons for the action [s 56D].
The Commissioner may publish a public statement identifying the practitioner and giving warnings or such other information the Commissioner considers appropriate. See, for example, the HCSCC's website here.
The Commissioner may at any time vary or revoke the orders made and/or statement published.
A practitioner may appeal orders made and/or any statement published to the Administrative and Disciplinary Division of the District Court [s 56E]. A time limit applies, but may be extended by the Court.
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