Section Menu

Impaired Registrants Panels

Impaired Registrants Panels are bodies convened by the Council under section 173 of the National Law (NSW) to determine whether a nurse, midwife or student is impaired. A nurse, midwife or student has an impairment if he or she has a physical or mental impairment, disability, condition or disorder (including substance abuse or dependence) that detrimentally affects or is likely to detrimentally affect:

  • the capacity of a nurse or midwife to practise his or her profession; or
  • a student's capacity to undertake clinical training as part of an approved program of study or arranged by an education provider.

A panel makes recommendations about a matter based on the results of its inquiry. A panel may counsel a nurse, midwife or student or recommend specified counselling; recommend that the nurse, midwife or student agree to conditions being placed on his or her registration or having his or her registration suspended for a specified period. A panel may also make recommendations to the Council as to the action the panel considers should be taken by the Council in relation to a matter.

The Panel consists of two or three members appointed by the Council. At least one member must be a registered medical practitioner and at least one member must be a person registered in the same health profession (and division, if applicable) as the relevant health practitioner. Panellists are drawn from a pool of members who are usually experienced in working with practitioners experiencing problems with their health.

The health program enables the Council to assist, in a constructive and non-disciplinary manner, health practitioners and students who have health issues which may affect their practice. The purpose of panels is to ensure that a nurse or midwife has the capacity to practise his or her profession and that a student has the capacity to undertake clinical training.

The health program (which includes the Impaired Registrants Panel) is designed to protect the public whilst maintaining the impaired health practitioner's practice (or student's training) when it is safe to do so.

The Panel meets the nurse or midwife and reviews available information including medical reports. Under section 152J of the National Law (NSW), the Council may impose conditions or suspend the practitioner or student's registration if the Impaired Registrants Panel has recommended the Council do so and the Council is satisfied that the practitioner or student has voluntarily agreed to the conditions. If an Impaired Registrants Panel recommends that a registered health practitioner or student agree to conditions being imposed on a practitioner or student's registration, and the practitioner or student fails to agree with the recommendation, the Council must deal with the matter that was the subject of the referral to the Panel as a complaint against the practitioner or student and may refer the matter the Health Care Complaints Commission.