How we protect the public
The Medical Council works with the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) by responding to concerns and notifications about the conduct and performance and health (impairment) of registered doctors in New South Wales. We take a holistic case management approach to ensure medical practitioners maintain appropriate professional standards and remain fit to practise.
The Medical Council will act to protect the public if a doctor may be practising unsafely or placing the public at risk. The Council also recognises the importance of maintaining the public's trust and confidence in the medical profession and will use its powers in cases of serious crimes and unethical conduct.
We also play an important role in ensuring medical students studying in NSW are fit to have contact with the public in NSW.
Frequently the Council imposes conditions on a practitioner's registration which are put in place protect the public. Registration conditions are monitored by the Council and these conditions must be complied with if the practitioner wants to continue to practise medicine. Examples of conditions that can be placed on a practitioner's registration include:
- the type of procedure that may be performed
- the type of patient or number of patients who may be seen
- a requirement to work under supervision
- a requirememt to undertake further education
Most conditions are publicly available on the national register of practitioners.
Sometimes where the Council considers a doctor’s continuing practice poses an immediate and serious risk to public safety or is otherwise in the public interest, it may suspend their registration pending full investigation by the Health Care Complaints Commission.
You can check the standards that medical practitioners must meet by visiting the Medical Board of Australia.
What we do
- engage the profession, community and stakeholder groups in education programs to support good medical practice and understanding by medical professionals of the Council’s regulatory functions and support programs
- receive and manage complaints and notifications about registered medical practitioners and medical students in NSW, in partnership with the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC).
- commission research to improve the evidence base for our regulatory work
- continuously monitor and evaluate our work to assess its timeliness and effectiveness
- manage the Health Program for doctors and medical students suffering ill-health which may compromise the capacity to practice medicine safely
- manage the Performance Program for doctors whose professional performance may not meet safe standards
- manage the Conduct Program for doctors whose professional conduct may not meet acceptable standards
- publish guidance and policies to support good medical practice, and other resources related to medical regulation
- advise the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency of our decisions so it can update the national register of health practitioners
- advise the NSW Minister for Health on relevant issues.
The complaints process provides a detailed overview of how we manage complaints.
What we don't do
There are many things the Medical Council does not do. In the following list of the things we don’t do, we’ve also suggested places where you should contact for these matters:
- give you medical advice. A GP who knows you is your best source of advice.
- give you legal advice or award damages or compensation, The Law Society of NSW can give you the details of a lawyer near you.
- manage complaints about what you have been charged, billing or Medicare. You can resolve these matters at the Department of Fair Trading or Medicare
- receive complaints about registered medical practitioners who are not based in NSW. To make a complaint about a medical practitioner outside NSW, contact the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
- receive complaints about hospitals or companies which provide health care. Please contact the Health Care Complaints Commission or contact the hospital or health care provider directly if you are concerned about the care you have received.
- receive complaints about medical or other practitioners who are not registered on the national register of practitioners. If you are concerned about a NSW health practitioner who is not registered, please refer the matter to the Health Care Complaints Commission
- get access to your medical records. If you are having trouble obtaining your records from your medical practitioner, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner may be able to assist you.
- maintain or hold medical workforce data
- answer questions about registration as a medical practitioner in Australia. These questions should go to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
- accredit medical schools. This is done by the Australian Medical Council.
Education and research
We are committed to research and evaluation to improve our work and our evidence base. We undertake and commission research activities and continually evaluate our activities against measurable outcomes.
We may collaborate with other organisations and may provide financial or other support for a research project that promotes our objectives and is consistent with our research priorities.