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

VCAT can review some decisions about a person’s registration in a health profession and decisions relating to registered health practitioners and students under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Vic) Act 2009.

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

Under this law, VCAT can review certain decisions about health practitioners and students, for example, health practitioner registrations, registration suspension, professional misconduct and a panel decision to reprimand a person. 

This page provides general information and should not be considered as legal advice. Seek legal advice if you are unsure about your legal rights. Be aware that the law can change

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. The National Boards further establishes 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
  • cases heard under federal law instead of Victorian law.

Review applications

Cases we can hear

If you are a person who is subject to the following decisions (appellable decisions), you may apply to VCAT for review: 

  • A decision of a National Board in relation to registration including a refusal, imposition of conditions or suspension of registration
  • 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.
  • A decision of a regulatory body to make or revise a public statement. 

Legislation that gives VCAT the power to hear these applications

Section 199 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 appellable decision.

What can VCAT order?

Unless specified otherwise in the Act, VCAT can:

  • confirm the decision under review (the appellable decision), in which case it will stand; or
  • amend the decision
  • substitute another decision for the appellable decision. 


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

Cases we can hear

A health panel or performance and professional standards panel may hear matters relating to registered health practitioners and students. A panel must stop hearing a matter and require the relevant National Board to refer a matter to VCAT if, at any time:

  • the practitioner or student asks the panel for the matter to be referred to a responsible tribunal; or
  • if relating to a health practitioner, the panel reasonably believes the practitioner may have behaved in a way that constitutes professional misconduct. 

If the National Board receives a referral from a panel, the National Board must refer matters to VCAT unless the Board decides there is no public interest in the matter being heard by VCAT. If the Board decides not to refer a matter, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency must publish information about the decision in its annual report. 

Legislation that gives VCAT the power to hear these applications

Section 193 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:

  • that there has been unsatisfactory professional performance
  • that there has been unprofessional conduct
  • that there has been professional misconduct 
  • that the practitioner has an impairment
  • that registration was improperly obtained because of false or misleading 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 to the National Board
  • 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 do one or more of the following:

  • disqualify the person from applying for registration
  • prohibit the person from providing any health services or using any title
  • impose restrictions on the provision of any health services or specified health service


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 impose a condition on the student’s registration, or suspend the student’s registration. 


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.