Changes to student pre-placement requirements

From 9 March 2020, the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences has made changes to the standard pre-placement screening requirements for students undertaking clinical placement. These changes bring the Faculty’s default position into alignment with the Standardised Student Induction Protocol (SSIP) published by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services in January 2020.

The SSIP aims to improve consistency of student pre-placement requirements across the Victorian health sector and reduce additional or repeat screening throughout a student’s course of study. The University of Melbourne supports this goal and is working closely with its placement partners to provide the smoothest possible student experience.

What are the changes?

The Student Placements website and your Sonia portal have been updated to reflect new standards relating to criminal history screening and infection prevention, among other changes. Expand the sections below for detailed information about the changes.

  • Australian police check

    The University now only requires students to obtain a new police check every three years (previously every 12 months). We will continue to provide police checks free of charge through our collaboration with National Crime Check and all existing police check records have been updated to reflect the new renewal date.

    Police checks now need to be issued no more than 6 months prior to course commencement and must state a purpose encompassing supervised access to vulnerable people.

  • Overseas criminal history

    Students are still required to provide evidence of their overseas criminal history if, since the age of 16, they have:

    1. Been a citizen or permanent resident of any country other than Australia; or
    2. Resided continuously in any single country other than Australia for 12 months or longer.

    The following documentation is now accepted as evidence of overseas police history:

    • Nation-wide check of criminal history produced by the relevant national authority (if in a language other than English, it must be accompanied by a certified English translation); or
    • International Criminal History Check issued by an AHPRA-approved supplier; or
    • Commonwealth statutory declaration sworn by the student (conditions apply).
  • Working with Children Check

    All students continue to be required to hold a Victorian Working with Children Check. However, students are now also required to show proof that the University has been appropriately added as an organisation on their MyCheck account.

    We have updated the status of Working with Children Checks from "Cleared" to "Missing Information". Students must provide the required additional documentation no later than 31 March 2020.

    Some students may be exempt from requiring a Working with Children Check if they are:

    • Under the age of 18 years;
    • From interstate, will be undertaking placement in Victoria for less than 30 days in total across the year and holds a valid working with children check (or equivalent) in another Australian state or territory;
    • Registered as a teacher under section 11 of the Victorian Institute of Teaching Act 2001; or
    • A member of the police force who has taken and subscribed the oath.
  • Hepatitis A

    Students are no longer required to provide the University evidence of immunity to hepatitis A unless it is a requirement of their assigned placement provider.

    However, all students are encouraged to consider vaccination against hepatitis A if recommended by the Australian Government Department of Health.

  • Hepatitis B

    Students are still be required to provide the University with a serology report indicating immunity to hepatitis B.

    However, students in the first year of their course may be able to attend placement if they provide evidence of having received at least two doses of hepatitis B vaccine.

    Vaccination records and serology from outside Australia will now be accepted by the University if:

    • In the case of vaccinations, the original record is provided in English (ie not a translation) and the vaccination brand and administration schedule align with the Australian Immunisation Handbook.
    • In the case of serology, the original record is provided in English (ie not a translation) and the testing is performed in an appropriately accredited facility.
  • Influenza

    Students are now only required to provide evidence of having received the current year’s influenza vaccination if they are undertaking clinical placement during the period 1 June to 31 October. Vaccination against influenza is strongly recommended at all other times but is not ordinarily required, except between 1 June and 31 October.

    From 2020, students are no longer able to provide a statutory declaration as evidence of influenza vaccination. Instead, students must provide one of the following:

    • Vaccination record indicating a dose of influenza vaccine for the current calendar year; or
    • Written statement from a medical practitioner or immunisation nurse advising administration of one dose of influenza vaccine for the current calendar year.

    Overseas vaccination records will now be accepted by the University if the original record is provided in English (ie not a translation) and the vaccination brand and administration schedule align with the Australian Immunisation Handbook.

  • Measles

    The list of documents that may be used as evidence of immunity to measles has been expanded. In order to demonstrate immunity to measles, students may now provide:

    • Vaccination record indicating two doses of MMR vaccine; or
    • Serology report indicating immunity to measles; or
    • Government-issued documentation confirming a birth date prior to 1966.

    Vaccination records and serology from outside Australia will be accepted by the University if:

    • In the case of vaccinations, the original record is provided in English (ie not a translation) and the vaccination brand and administration schedule align with the Australian Immunisation Handbook.
    • In the case of serology, the original record is provided in English (ie not a translation) and the testing is performed in an appropriately accredited facility.
  • Mumps

    The list of documents that may be used as evidence of immunity to mumps has been expanded. In order to demonstrate immunity to mumps, students will need to provide:

    • Vaccination record indicating two doses of MMR vaccine; or
    • Serology report indicating immunity to mumps; or
    • Government-issued documentation confirming a birth date prior to 1966.

    Vaccination records and serology from outside Australia will be accepted by the University if:

    • In the case of vaccinations, the original record is provided in English (ie not a translation) and the vaccination brand and administration schedule align with the Australian Immunisation Handbook.
    • In the case of serology, the original record is provided in English (ie not a translation) and the testing is performed in an appropriately accredited facility.
  • Pertussis (whooping cough)

    The requirements for demonstrating immunity to pertussis are unchanged. Students are required to provide a vaccination record indicating one dose of dTpa vaccine given within the past 10 years.

    Overseas vaccination records will be accepted by the University if the original record is provided in English (ie not a translation) and the vaccination brand and administration schedule align with the Australian Immunisation Handbook.

  • Rubella

    The list of documents that may be used as evidence of immunity to rubella has been expanded. In order to demonstrate immunity to rubella, students may now provide:

    • Vaccination record indicating two doses of MMR vaccine; or
    • Serology report indicating immunity to rubella; or
    • Government-issued documentation confirming a birth date prior to 1966.

    Vaccination records and serology from outside Australia will be accepted by the University if:

    • In the case of vaccinations, the original record is provided in English (ie not a translation) and the vaccination brand and administration schedule align with the Australian Immunisation Handbook.
    • In the case of serology, the original record is provided in English (ie not a translation) and the testing is performed in an appropriately accredited facility.
  • Tuberculosis

    Students are now able to satisfy the tuberculosis screening requirement by completing either a tuberculin skin test (eg Mantoux) or an interferon gamma release assay (such as the QuantiFERON-TB Gold assay) no more than 3 months prior to course commencement. In order to be eligible for placement, each student must provide the University one of the following:

    • Written statement from an AHPRA-registered medical practitioner advising the student has no symptoms of active tuberculosis and has received a tuberculin skin test or interferon gamma release assay indicating no tuberculosis infection;
    • Written statement from an AHPRA-registered specialist infectious disease or respiratory physician advising the student has no active tuberculosis infection; or
    • Written statement from an AHPRA-registered specialist infectious disease or respiratory physician advising the student has been assessed as fit for placement (for example, where the student is receiving appropriate treatment for a current tuberculosis infection and is deemed non-infectious).

    Additionally, tuberculosis screening is now only required once at the commencement of your course (previously annually). However, you are required to undertake repeat screening following any potential exposure to tuberculosis infection, whether related to your studies or not. We have removed the annual renewal date for previously cleared tuberculosis checks.

  • Varicella

    A written statement from a medical practitioner advising definite prior history of varicella infection is now considered sufficient evidence of immunity. This means students are able to demonstrate immunity to varicella by providing to the University any of the following:

    • Written statement from a medical practitioner advising definite prior history of varicella infection; or
    • Vaccination record indicating two doses of varicella vaccine; or
    • Serology report indicating immunity to varicella.

    Vaccination records and serology from outside Australia will be accepted by the University if:

    • In the case of vaccinations, the original record is provided in English (ie not a translation) and the vaccination brand and administration schedule align with the Australian Immunisation Handbook.
    • In the case of serology, the original record is provided in English (ie not a translation) and the testing is performed in an appropriately accredited facility.

Important note

Although the Faculty’s standard requirements have changed, some of our placement partners may take longer to transition to the new standards. Students are always required to comply with the policies and procedures of their host organisation when attending placement, so depending on your placement provider, you may need to provide different documentation or undertake a more recent check than would typically be required by the University. The placement coordinator in your school or department will notify you if this applies to an upcoming placement.

Student placement declaration

Students have previously been required to complete a Student Undertaking prior to some placements plus an annual Student Placement Declaration. From now on, students are instead required to complete a combined declaration and undertaking form through Sonia. This form will then be valid for your entire course.

Further information

If you have questions about these changes, please contact the Health Hub. For specific information about a current or future placement, speak with your discipline placement coordinator.