Articles and Case Studies

Do GPs need a Working with Children Check

07 Dec 2023

Kym Gardner

by Ms Kym Gardner

Working with children check (iStock)

Every jurisdiction has a responsibility to ensure the safety of its children by implementing checks to avoid obvious dangers, and to prevent known offenders working in positions of trust. However, like many laws in Australia, each state and territory does it a little differently to the next.

Information about this isn’t always easy to find, so we’ve done the hard work for you! Let’s take a look around the country and answer the question:

Do GPs in private practice need to obtain a Working with Children Check (WWCC) or the equivalent?


Australian Capital Territory


Called a ‘Working with Vulnerable People’ (WWVP) Check – it is specifically not required if you are a health practitioner registered with Ahpra.

New South Wales


A GP seeing an adolescent without an adult present, regardless of the frequency of doing so, would be considered ‘ordinary’ in the course of being a GP. However, a GP who does not have a WWCC, when seeing an adolescent who has presented without an adult, should ask a member of staff to sit in on the consultation (with patient consent) in a chaperone-type situation.

Northern Territory


Called an ‘Ochre Card’ – essentially if your work duties include, or may include, contact with children, then you are required to have a clearance.



Called a ‘Blue Card’ – a health practitioner registered with Ahpra is exempt from obtaining one when employed or carrying on a business as part of their functions as a registered health practitioner. However, this exemption does not apply to medical students.

South Australia


General practitioners should obtain a WWCC, as a person must not work with children (i.e. undertake ‘child-related work’) unless they have a WWCC. The SA legislation defines what is considered to be child-related work, which generally involves regular contact with children while providing specified services or activities, including health services, for children.



Called ‘Working with Vulnerable People’ (WWVP), GPs in private practice are required to have a WWVP, as would anyone who provides care or services to children.



Generally needed only if the employer or practice owner requires it, or if you work in a paediatric ward of a public or private hospital. However, if the GP is involved in counselling or other support services for children, then they would be best placed to obtain one, as they would technically meet the criteria. Organisations are free to implement their own policies that may go beyond the legislative requirements.

Western Australia


There is no category of ‘child-related work’ specifically for general health practitioners in private practice. So they are not required to have a WWCC, unless they also carry out child-related work in connection with another category.


Stay updated with the latest medico-legal content

Subscribe to MDA National’s biannual Member publication, Defence Update, for the latest medico-legal updates, articles and case studies.

Subscribe now


Communication with Patients, Employment Essentials, Practice Management, Regulation and Legislation, General Practice, Practice Manager Or Owner


Doctors Let's Talk: Get Yourself A Fricking GP

Get yourself a fricking GP stat! is a conversation with Dr Lam, 2019 RACGP National General Practitioner of the Year, rural GP and GP Anesthetics trainee, that explores the importance of finding your own GP as a Junior Doctor.


25 Oct 2022

Systematic efforts to reduce harms due to prescribed opioids – webinar recording

Efforts are underway across the healthcare system to reduce harms caused by pharmaceutical opioids. This 43-min recording of a live webinar, delivered 11 March 2021, is an opportunity for prescribers to check, and potentially improve, their contribution to these endeavours. Hear from an expert panel about recent opioid reforms by the Therapeutic Goods Administration and changes to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. 

Diplomacy in a hierarchy: tips for approaching a difficult conversation

Have you found yourself wondering how to broach a tough topic of conversation? It can be challenging to effectively navigate a disagreement with a co-worker, especially if they're 'above' you; however, it's vital for positive team dynamics and safe patient care. In this recording of a live webinar you'll have the opportunity to learn from colleagues' experiences around difficult discussions and hear from a diverse panel moderated by Dr Kiely Kim (medico-legal adviser and general practitioner). Recorded live on 2 September 2020.