Lapsed PI and Notice of Relevant Events

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Lapsed Professional Indemnity insurance arrangements – Section 130(3)(a)(iii), National Law

In busy working life, the renewal of professional indemnity insurance can easily be missed.

Common occasions when we have seen pharmacists miss the renewal of their professional indemnity insurance include:

  • Upon return from an approved leave of absence (such as a sabbatical or extended leave)
  • Upon return from parental leave
  • When contact details or direct debit authorities become out-dated, such as when credit cards are renewed or bank account details are changed

The risk that arises from working without professional indemnity insurance is something that cannot be under-estimated. The knowledge that appropriate insurance arrangements have lapsed is a trigger for notification of a ‘relevant event’ to AHPRA which must be done within 7 days; failure to comply may be a cause for disciplinary action.

‘Relevant events’

There are several other ‘relevant events’ that pharmacists and pharmacy students need to notify AHPRA about under section 130 of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (National Law).

Notification of charges and convictions – Section 130(3)(a)(i) and (ii)

The threshold for notification of charges is met if they are punishable by 12 months imprisonment or more. It can be common for practitioners to erroneously believe that charges they face are ‘minor’ and so assume that they are not punishable by 12 months imprisonment or more. Examples include common assault, fraud and second and subsequent drink driving charges.

If practitioners are charged with any offence, we recommend they seek legal advice regarding the maximum penalty that might apply upon a finding of guilt, to ensure they know whether they are obliged to notify their Board of the fact they have been charged within 7 days.

Convictions (whether recorded or not) must also be notified if any term of imprisonment could have been imposed for the offence. It is common in the above examples for the punishment to be light, such as a fine, a good behaviour bond or loss of driver’s licence. Regardless of whether a term of imprisonment is actually imposed by the sentencing judge, the obligation to notify remains.

Notification obligations for charges and convictions apply to pharmacists, intern pharmacists and pharmacy students.

Authority to handle scheduled medicines is cancelled or restricted – Section 130(3)(a)(vi)

All states and territories require health practitioners to be authorised to administer, possess, prescribe, sell, supply or use scheduled medicines in connection with the practise of their profession. State and territory regulatory bodies regularly audit and investigate practitioners whose practices may contravene statutory mandates, leading to their authority being cancelled or restricted. With the introduction of Real Time Prescription Monitoring, offending practises may be automatically flagged and brought to the attention of the governing entity.

If a health practitioner’s prescribing, dispensing or otherwise dealing with scheduled medicines is investigated, legal advice should be sought straight away. Suspension, cancellation or restriction of the practitioner’s authority is a ‘relevant event’, which must be notified to AHPRA within 7 days.

Registration overseas is suspended, cancelled or restricted – Section 130(3)(a)(viii)

With the world emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, Australian pharmacists may seek out international destinations that require registration with foreign regulators. Equally, expats who stayed overseas during the pandemic, and overseas trained practitioners may be entering Australia intending to practise here. Most countries with cohesive healthcare systems have established regulatory bodies with similar functions to AHPRA and the National Boards.

In the interest of the protection of the public in Australia, registered pharmacists and pharmacy students intending to resume or commence working here must notify AHPRA if their registration overseas is suspended or cancelled or made subject to a condition or another restriction.

Pharmacists’ obligations

A ‘relevant event’ under section 130 of the National Law must be notified to AHPRA within 7 days. You can do this by writing to AHPRA or completing a form titled ‘Notice of Certain Events – NOCE 00’, which is available on the AHPRA website.

It is very easy to forget to notify AHPRA of such matters. It must be borne in mind, however, that a failure to do so may lead to an investigation and sanctions being imposed by the Board, which might include a caution, reprimand or a requirement to undergo education. If you are unsure about whether you are required to notify the Board of a ‘relevant event’ or have questions concerning matters you may need to disclose at the time of renewal, you should contact PDL for advice.

This is an abridged version of an original article by Principal Scott Ames and Solicitor Daniel McCulloch of Meridian Lawyers. There are other ‘relevant events’ contained within section 130 of the National Law, which are not covered by this content, and which must be notified to AHPRA. The complete wording of section 130 is available via the Queensland Legislation website.

For more information, email

Disclaimer: This information is current as of March 2022. This article does not constitute legal advice and does not give rise to any solicitor/client relationship between Meridian Lawyers and the reader. Professional legal advice should be sought before acting or relying upon the content of this article.

For immediate advice and incident support, call PDL on 1300 854 838 to speak with one of our Professional Officers. We are here to support our pharmacist members 24/7, Australia-wide.