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Authorised health practitioners

Preparing your application

If you are a health practitioner interested in being appointed as an authorised health practitioner, you must first complete an application form.

You will be asked to:

  • provide contact details
  • answer questions relating to clauses within the Motor Accident Guidelines and
  • declare that you have read, understood, and agree to be bound by terms of appointment.

Only those applicants who complete all relevant sections of the form and meet the requirements may be appointed.

TIPS before starting the application

  1. save the application form to your desktop
  2. have copies of all documents listed in the application checklist so you can attach them to your application
  3. have an internet connection so that you can email your completed application and supporting documents to SIRA.

*Please note that the application is not screen reader accessible. If you need help filling out this form, please contact SIRA toll free on 1300 656 919 or by email to providers@sira.nsw.gov.au

How the application form relates to the eligibility criteria

The questions in the application form relate directly to clauses within the Motor Accident Guidelines detailing the eligibility requirements. During the development of the guidelines SIRA undertook public consultation and consulted with key stakeholders over an extended period. Feedback from the consultations was carefully considered and informed the final requirements.

To help you prepare your application we explain below how the questions in sections 3 and 5 of the application form relate to the Motor Accident Guidelines.

Section 3.1 General or Specialist registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)

Relates to clause 8.18(b) of the Motor Accident Guidelines

Providing evidence of registration with AHPRA ensures that applicants meet the definition of ‘health practitioner’ for the purposes of authorisation.

SIRA stakeholders indicated that having registration with no notations as a result of disciplinary processes and ensuring practitioners were not subject to supervisory requirements would promote greater confidence in the practitioner and scheme.

Section 3.2 Clinical experience

Relates to clause 8.18(a) of the Motor Accident Guidelines

Five years’ experience is a commonly used benchmark in similar jurisdictions across Australia and internationally. SIRA confirmed that a criterion of five years’ relevant clinical experience would allow practitioners time to develop their skills and experience in their area of expertise.

As expert witnesses, authorised health practitioners may be required to comment on the opinions of their peers, so must be able to demonstrate that they have experience for their opinion to be given appropriate weight.

Clinical experience is defined as follows:

'Providing direct clinical care or providing oversight of direct clinical care of patients, or directly involved in the clinical education of either pre-registration or post-registration students.

The clinical experience, whether remunerated or not, must be obtained in the practitioner’s area of expertise (specialty) after the practitioner has completed all relevant training, is fully qualified, and is not subject to supervisory requirements.'

Section 3.3 High level communication skills

Relates to clause 8.18(c) of the Motor Accident Guidelines

Good communication is a key component of the role of an authorised health practitioner. It is important that practitioners are able to communicate with a wide variety of professional and lay persons, including injured persons, insurers, and the Courts.

As outlined in the NSW Medical Board’s Policy ‘Guidelines for Medico-legal Consultations and Examinations’, effective communication is especially important because examinees may be nervous and anxious about the possibility of receiving an adverse report from a practitioner. Written communication is also critical, as reports need to be comprehensible, easy to read, and explain medical terminology.

Section 5.1 Expert Opinion

Relates to clause 8.23(a), 8.23(b), 8.23(c), 8.23(g), and 8.23(h)

It is essential that authorised health practitioners provide high quality reports that are accurate, comprehensible, and easy to read. Reports should also clearly explain medical terminology and concepts. Having high quality reports minimises the need for multiple opinions and examinations, thereby improving the experience of the injured person, reducing claim lifecycles and cost to the scheme.

As expert witnesses, authorised health practitioners must comply with the Expert Witness Code of Conduct outlined in Part 7 of the Motor Accident Guidelines and Schedule 7 of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005. The Codes reinforce that an expert witness has an overriding duty to assist the DRS and the Courts impartially. The Codes also confirm that an expert witness is not an advocate for a party and must identify if an issue falls outside the expert’s field of expertise.

As part of the consultation undertaken in developing the criteria for authorised health practitioners, SIRA stakeholders stressed the importance of good quality, impartial expert opinion, and that practitioners understood the importance of these requirements prior to being appointed.

Section 5.2 Experience with motor accident related injuries

Relates to clause 8.18(a) of the Motor Accident Guidelines

SIRA stakeholders highlighted the importance of practitioners having an understanding of motor accident related injuries or other similar trauma. These injuries can often be complex with comorbidity being common.

SIRA acknowledges that not all authorised health practitioners will have had extensive exposure to motor accident related injuries as part of their clinical experience. However, it is a requirement that applicants are able to demonstrate an understanding of the treatment and/or management of motor accident related injuries in order to be considered for appointment.