Articles and Case Studies

Ahpra's new approach to managing notifications

09 Jun 2021

by Lindsay Roberts

MDAN - Ahpra notifications

From December 2020, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) has been resetting its approach to managing notifications – enabling the Board to close concerns about low-risk practitioners faster and to concentrate investigations on practitioners who represent higher risk.

The new approach includes considering the role other health practitioners and workplaces play in managing risks posed by individual practitioners – and focusing attention on matters where gaps in practice create an ongoing risk to the public which may require a regulatory response.

In considering whether regulatory action is required, more emphasis is being placed on actions taken by the practitioner and their workplace (if applicable) in managing any potential risk, and how those actions combine to prevent future risk to patients.

There is also a greater emphasis on factors beyond the concerns raised in a notification, including an individual’s scope of practice, practice setting (e.g. access to peers and support; patient cohort), and the nature and frequency of any past regulatory history.

Ahpra is also focused on speaking with practitioners soon after receipt of a notification, to explain the notifications process and gather information early. 

When responding to a notification, Ahpra suggests that you:

  • acknowledge the concerns raised by the notifier, and try to understand the concerns from their perspective
  • acknowledge any errors that may have occurred, and offer an apology if appropriate
  • state what has been done, or could be done, to address the concerns
  • mention any changes or actions taken as a result of the concerns raised
  • provide supporting documentation for any additional training or CPD you have done to address the concerns.
  • If you get a phone call from Ahpra about a new notification, it’s prudent to reschedule the call and contact MDA National for advice. We can help you determine whether a verbal response is likely to be the best way to resolve the matter, or whether a more formal written response is required.
  • If you receive a notification, you should thoroughly review the concerns raised. Consider whether you could have done anything differently, or what changes you could make moving forward.
  • Don’t panic! Receiving a phone call or letter from Ahpra is stressful for doctors – but most notifications are dismissed with no further action. Please contact us for advice and support. We can help you review the notification and ensure your response adequately addresses the concerns raised.


More resources icon 

More information

Ahpra & National Boards

Newsletter December 2020 – investigations reset
How we manage concerns


MDA National

Letters from Ahpra – don’t panic, don’t ignore

Complaints and Adverse Events, Medical Records and Reports, Regulation and Legislation, Anaesthesia, Dermatology, Emergency Medicine, General Practice, Intensive Care Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Ophthalmology, Pathology, Practice Manager Or Owner, Psychiatry, Radiology, Sports Medicine, Surgery, Physician, Geriatric Medicine, Cardiology, Plastic And Reconstructive Surgery, Radiation Oncology, Paediatrics, Independent Medical Assessor - IME, Gastroenterology


My Career Journey with Dr Nick Coatsworth

Dr Nick Coatsworth is an expert in health policy, public administration and a practising infectious diseases physician. He held a national role in the Australian response to COVID-19 as Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Australia, becoming one of the most recognised medical spokespeople during the pandemic. Nick engaged the Australian community through a variety of media platforms most notably as the spearhead of the national COVID-19 vaccination campaign. Dr Micheal Gannon, Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, sits down with Dr Nick Coatsworth to discuss Nick's medical career journey, and what insights and advice he has for junior doctors. MDA National would like to acknowledge the contributions of MDA National staff, Members, friends and colleagues in the production of the podcast and note that this work is copyright. Apart from any use permitted under applicable copyright law, you may not reproduce the content of this podcast without the permission of MDA National. This podcast contains generic information only, is intended to stimulate thought and discussion, and doesn’t account for requirements of any particular individual. The content may contain opinions which are not necessarily those of MDA National. We recommend that you always contact your indemnity provider when you require specific advice in relation to your insurance policy or medico-legal matters. MDA National Members need to contact us for specific medico-legal advice on freecall 1800 011 255 or email We may also refer you to other professional services.


09 Jun 2022

Career complications and contending with uncertainty

Among the many challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic for junior doctors is how to respond to medical training impacts and career uncertainty. In this podcast, Dr Caroline Elton (a psychologist who specialises in helping doctors)and Dr Benjamin Veness (a Psychiatry registrar) share advice for coping with medical training and career delays, disruptions and unknowns.


10 Aug 2020