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Tuesday 13/09 2011
ASAR Newsletter September 2011

Message from the Chair

Welcome to the Australasian Sonographer Accreditation Registry’s (ASAR) newsletter. To ensure sonographers on the Registry and stakeholders are kept up to date on the key activities of ASAR, Council has decided to reintroduce the newsletter. Newsletters will be released to coincide with key decisions made at ASAR Council meetings, and on an as needed basis to provide updates on key developments impacting on sonographers on the Registry and on the operations of ASAR.

Strategically, 2011 has been a significant year for ASAR, with the conclusion in April of the external independent review of the governance and operations of the Registry by NFP Analysts Pty Ltd. NFP Analysts were asked to recommend changes that will enable ASAR to meet its strategic and operational objectives, as efficiently and effectively as possible.

The review took into account short and long term issues facing sonography training and education as well as the possibility of sonographers being included in the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS).

The key recommendations to be given priority for implementation over the next 6 to 12 months are included in this edition.

I hope you find the revamped newsletter informative. If you have any feedback on the contents of this or future editions or have any suggestions for topics to be included please email: Liane Walters, Executive Officer (EO): lianew@asar.com.au.

– Michelle Pedretti.

Key Recommnedations from the external review by NFP Analysts Pty Ltd

The external review of the Registry concluded in April this year, resulting in a number of recommendations to the ASAR Council. Council considered the recommendations at their June and August meetings and decided that implementation of the following key recommendations, will be given priority over the next 6 to 12 months.

Appointment of an Executive Officer

Following an extensive recruitment process, Liane Walters was appointed to the role of EO and commenced on Monday 1 August.

Liane has over a decade of experience working in the medical education and accreditation field.

Prior to joining ASAR, Liane’s recent accomplishments include management of all aspects of the development and implementation of the new radiology training program curriculum including the drafting of policies to support minimum standards for clinical supervision and protected time for trainers.

The EO’s key roles include:

  • Acting as a liaison between the ASAR Council and major stakeholders
  • Implementing recommendations (approved by the ASAR Council) from the external independent review
  • Policy/process development
  • Management of accreditation processes
  • Ensuring the Council is informed of current developments in the sonographer educational and practice environment

Development and implementation of a new governance structure

Council is currently discussing options for the Governance restructure including membership composition, Board of Directors’ composition, election of Directors and terms for Directors. A chartered secretary will be contracted to provide expert advice on the restructure and to rewrite the constitution.

Council at its meeting held 20-21 August 2011 approved the revised objects for ASAR as follows:

Objects of the ASAR

  1. to promote high standards of medical sonography in Australia and in particular:
    1. to set uniform, minimum standards ofsonographer training and education in Australia
    2. to accredit programs of sonographer training and education
    3. to accredit medical sonographers
    4. to maintain a minimum standard of continuing professional development
    5. to support recognition of sonography as a profession, and
    6. to advise education, government and statutory bodies and professional and scientific societies on any aspect of accreditation of medical sonography
  2. to do all such acts as are incidental and conducive to the furtherance of the above objects.

PAG (PAG) Review of the program accreditation guidelines

The PAG were last reviewed in August 2007 and are due for review again. The review will commence in late September and conclude in early 2012.

The review of the PAG is warranted to ensure the accreditation processes and the minimum standards for programs reflect the current academic and training environment.

The review of the PAG will also include a benchmarking study against other accreditation programs and practices.

Development of new website

Work is well underway on the development of the new ASAR website, which will have substantially more functionality than the current website.

The new functionality includes:

  • Simultaneous and immediate update of the website and the database following entry of information (contact details, CPD points, etc) by sonographers on the Registry.
  • Renewals and all other payments will be done online.

In addition a new logo for ASAR has been designed and will be launched on the new website. Testing of the new website is expected to be underway in October with a go live date of January 2012.

Clarification on ASAR Accreditation of sonography programs at CQ University

Recently there has been some confusion about the accreditation of sonography programs at CQ University.

To clarify:

In order to be eligible for ASAR Accredited Medical Sonographer (AMS) status, CQ University candidates MUST complete the Graduate Diploma of Medical Sonography. This is an articulated program with the Bachelor of Medical Sonography and therefore the pre-requisite for the Graduate Diploma.

Candidates who only complete the undergraduate component and not the entire program will be awarded a Bachelor of Health Sciences, (Imaging) from CQ University, which is NOT accredited by the ASAR.

Queries regarding the CQ University sonography training program can be directed to Cynthia Cowling, Developmental Leader Radiation Sciences and Sonography: c.cowling@cqu.edu.au

Clarification of ASAR's current role

In light of the current focus on national registration and a small number of enquiries to ASAR about ASAR’s role in dealing with complaints about sonographers, the ASAR Council wishes to clarify that ASAR is not a registration board.

ASAR does not have the authority to remove a Sonographer from the Registry due to professional misconduct, nor the ability to prevent a sonographer from practicing. ASAR is only able to remove a Sonographer from the Registry if they fail to meet CPD requirements or do not pay annual fees.

Currently, sonographers are not included in the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS). If sonographers are interested in keeping up to date about applications of unregistered professions to be considered for entry into the NRAS, the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council (AHWMC) issues Communiques, which can be found on the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) website: http://www.ahpra.gov.au/Legislation-and-Publications/Ministerial-Directives-and-Communiques.aspx.