Renewing your nursing and midwifery registration: Criminal disclosure

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This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Renewing your registration

In the lead-up to the May 31 deadline, Nurse Uncut brings you a series of articles on subjects that nurses and midwives frequently enquire about when renewing their registration. Last week we covered CPD. Today we look at criminal disclosure.

When you renew your registration, you’re likely to be asked whether since your last declaration to AHPRA (ie. either your application for registration or your last renewal) there has been any change to your criminal history in Australia or overseas that you have not declared to AHPRA.

This question often brings lots of enquiries about what exactly you must notify AHPRA of and when you need to make that notification.

Under section 130 of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (NSW) No. 86a (National Law), nurses and midwives are required to give the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA), through AHPRA, notice of a “relevant event” within 7 days of the event.

With regard to criminal matters, a relevant event is defined as a charge of an offence punishable by 12 months imprisonment or more; or a conviction or finding of guilt for an offence that is punishable by imprisonment.

The key word to understand is “punishable”. This refers to offences that you could receive such a punishment for, regardless of whether you have received that sentence or not.

When you’re asked about criminal disclosures upon renewal of your registration, you must notify AHPRA of any charges, not just those that are considered a relevant event.

It’s important to differentiate between what is a charge and what is a penalty for breach of the road rules. For example, a speeding fine is not a charge and therefore does not need to be disclosed, but if you are caught driving negligently then you may be charged under the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW) and you would have to disclose this. The obligations for disclosure vary depending on the specific charge.

If you’re charged with any offence, it’s important to seek legal advice from the NSWNMA (or your own state union) as soon as possible with regard to your disclosure obligations. 

In NSW, when you notify AHPRA of a charge, the NMBA will consider that notification and decide whether they need to take any action in relation to that, eg. refer the matter to the Health Care Complaints Commission and/or the Nursing and Midwifery Council of NSW.   In making their decision, they will refer to the AHPRA Criminal History Registration Standard.

Criminal charges have the potential to impact your registration as a nurse and/or midwife.  You should consult the Code of Professional Conduct for Nurses in Australia and/or the Code of Professional Conduct for Midwives in Australia for more information about your obligations.

Next week, we look at the requirement for professional indemnity insurance.

Previously on Nurse Uncut:

Series Navigation<< Renewing your nursing and midwifery registration: CPDRenewing your nursing registration: Professional Indemnity Insurance >>

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