Termination of pregnancy (abortion)

Credentialing for medical practitioners

The Termination of Pregnancy Law Reform Regulations (the regulations) state directives and set penalties under the Termination of Pregnancy Law Reform Act.  This includes the setting and verification of credentials by the Chief Health Officer.

  1. This information is available as a factsheet.
  2. A credentialing form has been developed to assist medical practitioners and their organisations to meet the credentialing requirements
  3. For more information, see the Northern Territory Clinical Guidelines for Termination of Pregnancy

Medical practitioners

Other than in circumstances where a termination is necessary to preserve the life of the woman, a termination of pregnancy must be performed by a suitably qualified medical practitioner.

If the medical practitioner is not registered to practice as an obstetrician or gynaecologist, they will need to undergo a credentialing process to be confirmed as having obtained qualifications in the provision of advice, performance of procedures and giving treatment in the area of fertility control before performing or directing the performance of any termination of pregnancy procedures in the Northern Territory.

The credentialing process

Credentialing means the process of verifying qualifications, training, experience, professional standing and other relevant professional attributes of a medical practitioner used for the purpose of forming a view about the competence, performance and professional suitability of the medical practitioner.

The 2004 National Standard for Credentialing and Defining the Scope of Clinical Practice is the standard to be applied for the setting of credentials.

Credentialing for a suitably qualified medical practitioner

 The definition of ‘suitably qualified medical practitioner’ in the Act requires that the medical practitioner:

a)  is an obstetrician or gynaecologist or

b)  is credentialed in the provision of advice, performance of procedures and giving treatment in the area of fertility control

The Chief Health Officer has set the following credentials as being required for recognition as a ‘suitably qualified medical practitioner’. A medical practitioner must be able to satisfy the Chief Health Officer (or a delegate of the Chief Health Officer) that they meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • AHPRA registration as a specialist obstetrician or gynaecologist
  • an award of the DRANZCOG Advanced qualification from the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
  • AHPRA registration as a medical practitioner who is currently certified under the Therapeutic Goods Administration licensing conditions to prescribe MS- 2Step
  • AHPRA registration as a medical practitioner, who also has sufficient experience in the surgical performance of termination of pregnancy to be deemed, by an independent practising gynaecologist, as being competent to perform surgical termination procedures independently and safely

A registrar in obstetrics and gynaecology or general practice may act as a suitably qualified medical practitioner, if acting under the supervision of a suitably qualified medical practitioner. A registrar’s ability to prescribe MS-2Step in such circumstances depends on his/her certification under the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) licensing conditions.

A suitably qualified medical practitioner’s scope of practice depends on his/her credentials. A suitably qualified medical practitioner whose credentials are restricted to TGA prescriber certification only, cannot undertake surgical termination procedures. A suitably qualified medical practitioner whose credentials are restricted to surgical procedures only, cannot undertake medical terminations of pregnancy.

Contacts

For more information about credentialing for medical practitioners, contact the Department of Health’s Women’s Health Strategy Unit:

Phone: (08) 8985 8018

WomensHealth.DoH@nt.gov.au

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Last updated: 12 September 2017