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Avant welcomes clearer advertising guidelines

May 29, 2014

Avant has welcomed the release of updated advertising guidelines which provide members with clearer rules on the use of online testimonials to advertise regulated health services in response to confusion from doctors struggling to determine their obligations.

The Medical Board of Australia decided to change a controversial section in the previous advertising guidelines, which were originally released in March, to clear up confusion about the use of testimonials.

Released by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), the new advertising guidelines which came into effect on 20 May 2014, clarify that the use of testimonials are prohibited when advertising a regulated health service under the National Law.

Georgie Haysom, Head of Advocacy, Avant, welcomed the updated advertising guidelines which doctors can now refer to for clear guidance on the use of testimonials associated with clinical services.

“The guidelines clarify that testimonials are prohibited in advertising regulated health services including on practitioner’s own Facebook pages or websites, in print, radio or television advertisements, and on social media,” she said.

However, the guidelines have reiterated that practitioners are not responsible for the removal of unsolicited testimonials published on a website or in social media over which they do not have control.

Patients can still share views through consumer and patient’s information sharing websites that invite public feedback/reviews about experience of a practitioner, business, and/or service, the guidelines note.

Practitioners can provide feedback related to any concerns they may have on the ban on use of testimonials in advertising a regulated health service under the national Law under the terms of reference for the scheduled three-year review of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme.

More information is available on the AHMAC website here.

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