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

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.

VCAT can review some decisions about regulated health practitioners under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Vic) Act 2009. These decisions are called 'appellable' decisions under the Act but the application is an application for review.

Under this Act, we can also accept referrals about the conduct of regulated health practitioners from boards and panels.

Health practitioner regulation

Many health practitioners are regulated nationally. They include 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.

They are regulated by national boards. There are currently 14 national boards under the Act. Health panels and performance and professional standards panels of those national boards are recognised under the Act and conduct a range of hearings.

In Victoria, the relevant Act is the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Vic) Act 2009. The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law is a schedule to the Act.

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

Review applications

Cases we can hear

If you are a regulated health practitioner you may be able to apply for review (appeal) to VCAT of:

  • a board decision refusing to register you
  • a board decision to refuse to endorse your registration
  • a board decision to refuse to renew your registration
  • a board decision to refuse to renew the endorsement on your registration
  • a board decision to impose or change a condition on registration
  • a board decision to refuse to change or remove a condition
  • a board decision to refuse to change or revoke an undertaking
  • a board decision to suspend your registration
  • a panel decision to impose a condition on your registration
  • a health panel decision to suspend your registration
  • a performance and professionals standards panel decision to reprimand you.

Legislation that gives VCAT the power to hear these applications

Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Vic) 2009 – section 199 (1).

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 no more than 28 days after you have been given notice of the appellable 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 remit (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 the conduct of regulated health practitioners from panels and boards under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Vic) Act 2009.

Cases we can hear

A Panel must require the relevant Board to refer a matter to VCAT:

  • at any time during a hearing if a practitioner or student asks the panel to refer the matter to VCAT
  • at any time if a panel believes the practitioner might have engaged in professional misconduct
  • at any time if a panel believes the practitioner's registration was improperly obtained due to the provision of false information
  • at the completion of a hearing, if the panel decides the matter must be referred pursuant to section 193.

A Board must refer a matter to VCAT if:

  • the board believes the practitioner has engaged in professional misconduct
  • the board believes the practitioner's registration was improperly obtained due to the provision of false information; or
  • if a panel requires the board to refer the matter.

If the matter is about your conduct or character, you will be a party to the VCAT case.

Legislation that gives VCAT the power to hear these applications

Panels: Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Vic) 2009 – section 190 and 193(1)b)

Boards: Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Vic) 2009 – section 193 (1)(a)

Time limits

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

What can VCAT order?

VCAT first makes findings about the alleged conduct.

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

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

If any of those findings are made, we can:

  • caution or reprimand the practitioner
  • impose conditions on the practitioner's registration
  • require payment of a fine not exceeding $30,000
  • suspend the practitioner's registration for a specified period
  • cancel the practitioner's registration.

More about how we resolve your case

Read more about hearings at VCAT, professional representation, access and privacy and communicating with VCAT.