What is a health impairment?

A health impairment or issue affects your ability to do your job as a registered nurse or midwife, and a student’s capacity to undertake clinical training.

If you are concerned about your own health or the health of another nurse, midwife or student, you can call our confidential support line 24/7 on 1800 667 877.
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Your reporting responsibilities
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All registered health practitioners have a professional and ethical obligation to protect and promote public health and safe healthcare.

Registered health practitioners, employers and education providers must notify the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) if they believe that a registered health practitioner has behaved in a way that constitutes notifiable conduct.

Notifiable conduct by registered health practitioners is defined as:

  • practising while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs 
  • sexual misconduct in the practice of the profession 
  • placing the public at risk of substantial harm because of an impairment (health issue), or 
  • placing the public at risk because of a significant departure from accepted professional standards.

Education providers have an obligation to make a mandatory complaint or concern about a student if the student has an impairment or health issue that may, either in the course of study or clinical training, place the public at substantial risk of harm.

The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009
Impairment is defined in Part 1 [s 5]
Physical or mental impairment, disability, condition or disorder (including substance use or dependence), that detrimentally affects or is likely to affect a registered practitioner’s capacity to safely practise the profession or a student’s capacity to undertake clinical training.
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Making a complaint
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For information about making a complaint go to Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency Complaints or concerns or call 1300 419 495.

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What can I do next?
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Why not use our service finder to find out about some of the services available.

Our service provides free and confidential support 24/7, to nurses, midwives and students Australia wide. If you would like to speak to someone call 1800 667 877, or you can request support via email.

If you would like to know a bit more about the service before getting in contact — take a look through accessing support.

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