Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Vic) Act 2009 (review and referral)

VCAT can review some decisions about registered health practitioners under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Vic) Act 2009.

This page provides general information and shouldn't be considered as legal advice. Seek legal advice if you're unsure about your legal rights. Be aware that the law can change.

The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Vic) Act 2009 adopts the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law into Victorian jurisdiction. 

Under this law, VCAT can review certain decisions about health practitioner registration and a panel decision to reprimand; and receive referrals on matters about registered health practitioners and students.

Health practitioner regulation

Many health practitioners are regulated nationally. They include paramedics, Chinese medicine practitioners, chiropractors, dental practitioners, dental therapists, dental hygienists, dental prosthetists, oral health therapists, medical practitioners, medical radiation practitioners, nurses and midwives, occupational therapists, optometrists, osteopaths, pharmacists, physiotherapists, podiatrists, psychologists and specialist Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander practitioners.

Health practitioners are regulated by National Boards. There are currently 15 National Boards under the Act, who further establish health panels, and performance and professional standards panels to conduct a range of hearings.

Veterinary practitioners are not regulated nationally. VCAT reviews certain decisions about veterinary practitioners under the Veterinary Practice Act 1997.

Cases we can't help with

We can’t accept some cases where one party lives in another state or is a Commonwealth government organisation.

Review applications

Cases we can hear

You can apply to VCAT for a review (appeal) of a decision if it relates to you: 

  • a decision of a National Board about registration and its conditions
  • a decision of a National Board to refuse to change or revoke an undertaking given by the person to the Board
  • a decision of a health panel to suspend a person’s registration or impose a condition on a person’s registration
  • a decision of a health panel not to revoke a suspension
  • a decision by a performance and professional standards panel to reprimand a person. 

Legislation that gives VCAT the power to hear these applications

Section 199(1) of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Vic) 2009

Documents you need to apply

If you have a decision document, use it to help you complete the VCAT application form and attach a copy of the document to your application.

Time limits

You must lodge your application at VCAT within 28 days of being notified of the appealable decision.

What can VCAT order?

VCAT can:

  • affirm the decision under review (the appellable decision), in which case it will stand
  • vary the decision
  • set aside the decision and substitute our own decision
  • set aside the decision and send back the matter for reconsideration by the decision maker giving directions or recommendations
  • invite the decision maker to reconsider their decision at any time during the case.

Referrals

VCAT can accept referrals about matters relating to registered health practitioners or students from the National Board and the health ombudsman under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Vic) Act 2009.

Cases we can hear

If the health practitioner or student asks a panel to refer the matter to VCAT, the panel must require the relevant National Board to refer the matter about a registered health practitioner or student to VCAT at any time.

If the National Board receives notification from a panel to refer a matter to VCAT and that matter is not a matter that must be referred to the health ombudsman, the National Board must refer the matter to VCAT.

If the health ombudsman requests a referral of a matter from the National Board and the National Board notifies the health ombudsman that a matter must be referred to VCAT, the health ombudsman must refer the matter to VCAT.  

Legislation that gives VCAT the power to hear these applications

Section 190, 193A and 193B of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law.

Time limits

There are no time limits for referral applications under this Act.

What can VCAT order?

Health practitioners

VCAT may decide that a health practitioner has no case to answer or VCAT may make one or more of the following findings:

  • there has been unsatisfactory professional performance
  • there has been unprofessional conduct
  • there has been professional misconduct 
  • the practitioner has an impairment
  • registration was improperly obtained because of false information.

If any of those findings are made, VCAT can:

  • caution or reprimand the practitioner
  • impose conditions on the practitioner's registration
  • require payment of a fine up to $30,000
  • suspend the practitioner's registration for a specified period
  • cancel the practitioner's registration.

If VCAT decides to cancel the practitioner’s registration or if the person does not hold registration under the law, VCAT may also decide to:

  • disqualify the person from applying for registration
  • prohibit the person from providing any health services or using any title. 

Students

VCAT may decide that a student has an impairment, or the student has no case to answer and no further action is to be taken. 

If VCAT decides the student has an impairment, VCAT may decide to suspend the student's registration or impose a condition on their registration.

Apply

We can explain the application process and what the form is asking you for. Contact us to get support.

We can't give you legal advice. This means we can't tell you what to write in your application or recommend how to get the outcome you want.

Seek legal help if you're unsure about your options or need advice about your claim.

Make an application

You may have to pay a fee to apply to VCAT to review a decision. Learn more about fees or apply for fee relief.

 

Do I need a lawyer or professional representative?

You don't need to have legal or other professional representation to appear at VCAT. If you want to be represented by a lawyer or a professional advocate, usually you must ask for VCAT's permission. Be aware that the regulatory body in most cases uses legal representation.

Find legal services that may be able to assist you.

Access and privacy

VCAT hearings and files are usually public.

VCAT has limited authority to restrict who can access cases and files but, in certain circumstances, you can apply for confidentiality.