Appointments to the SAHPT
The SAHPT consists of a President, a Deputy President and two panels appointed by the Governor on the recommendation of the Minister for Health and Wellbeing.
The President and Deputy Presidents are legal practitioners of long standing, experienced in the law generally and in conducting hearings in a variety of areas of the law.
There are two panels of the SAHPT:
- a panel of health practitioners registered under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law; and
- a panel of consumers of health services (or community representatives).
Please see the current list of SA HPT Panel Members.
How are the appointments to the panels made?
Calls for expressions of interest for appointment to the two panels are generally made every three years.
The Department for Health and Wellbeing will advertise for expressions of interest in The Advertiser generally six months prior to the expiry date of the appointments. The Department will also write to a number of professional associations seeking nominations for appointment to the panels. These professional associations are prescribed under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (South Australia) Regulations 2010.
Persons currently appointed to the SAHPT are also able to re-nominate for appointment to a panel.
Expressions of interest for appointment to a panel are then considered by the Department and forwarded to the Minister to recommend appointments to the Governor.
In considering the appointments the Minister will try to ensure that there is a mix of skills and experience from which the SAHPT can draw.
The Department may also call for expressions of interest for appointment outside of this three year cycle. This call will usually occur in relation to the health practitioner panel to ensure each health profession is represented by a sufficient number of persons on the panel to enable hearings to proceed without undue delay. In these instances the Department will work with the professional associations and its clinical networks to seek nominations for appointment.
How many persons are appointed to the panels of the SAHPT?
There is no restriction on the numbers of persons to be appointed to either panel.
The panel represents a pool of persons from which the President of the SAHPT can select persons to hear a matter.
When a matter is to be heard, the SAHPT is constituted by a President or a Deputy President who will preside over the proceedings (the presiding member), two members drawn from the health practitioner panel and one member from the consumer panel.
It is important to ensure that matters to be heard by the SAHPT can proceed as quickly as possible. For this reason a number of people are appointed to the panels from which the SAHPT can draw.
For the panel of health practitioners the constitution of the SAHPT for a hearing is more complicated as the legislation requires that the health practitioners can only be drawn from the same profession as the matter before the SAHPT. Therefore the 15 health professions currently regulated under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law need to be considered separately in terms of appointments to the panel.
What are the eligibility requirements for appointment to a SAHPT panel?
The eligibility requirements for appointment to the panel of health practitioners require that a person must:
- hold general registration in a profession under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law; and
- have no conditions or notations recorded on their registration; and
- have not been the subject of any previous disciplinary proceedings; and
- not be serving on any committee or panel of a national health profession regulatory board under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law.
Health professions are regulated to ensure the health and safety of the public. Regulation includes an assessment that the health practitioner is appropriately qualified to practise in the profession and that they maintain high standards of competence and conduct in the services that they provide.
Health practitioners appointed to the SAHPT will provide assistance to other members on what is considered to be professional and acceptable conduct for their profession. For this reason it is important that the health practitioner members are practising and aware of accepted professional standards.
Apart from the nursing and midwifery profession and the dental profession which maintain separate divisions of registration, health practitioners are not considered for appointment on the basis of their specialty within their profession. While every effort is made to ensure that there is a wide range of skills and expertise, the SAHPT has the ability to seek expert opinion to obtain this advice if it is required for a hearing.
For the nursing and midwifery profession and the dental profession, practitioner appointments are made to ensure that each division of registration is represented.
There are no specific requirements apart from that the consumer:
- must not be a health practitioner registered under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law; and
- must not be serving on any committee or panel of a national health profession regulatory board under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law.
The general requirements for appointment are the ability to demonstrate a high level of integrity, sound judgement, interpersonal skills, and capacity to make fair decisions quickly.
Unlike the health practitioner panel, a person appointed to the panel of health consumers is eligible to hear a matter concerning any health profession.
What is the time commitment?
The workload of the SAHPT is contingent on the number of matters that may be referred to it by a national health profession regulatory board or the number of appeals against decisions of the board.
It is not uncommon for a person to be appointed to one of the panels, particularly the health practitioner panel, and not have any contact from the SAHPT during the term of their appointment.
If a matter proceeds to a hearing the presiding member will select the two practitioner members and one consumer member from the panels to hear and determine the matter. At this time the presiding member will have an indication of how long a particular hearing will take based on the number of witnesses that either party may wish to call.
If a person on the panel is contacted and not available for the hearing, the presiding member will select another person from the panel list. It is for this reason that it is desirable to have a number of persons appointed to the panels, particularly from the health professions, so that matters can proceed as quickly as possible.
At the conclusion of the hearing the SAHPT members will confer on their decision. In most cases this will happen quickly as the members will find that they have reached the same decision. In other cases the members may take some time after the hearing to consider their decision.
SAHPT members may also be required to read documents before the hearing.
SAHPT members are paid a sitting fee for the duration of the hearing.
Should you require further information on the appointments process to the SAHPT please email: HealthPolicyLegislation@sa.gov.au.