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Do all nurses need professional indemnity insurance?

YES! It is a requirement of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) that nurses and midwives must not practise their professions unless they are covered in the conduct of their practice by appropriate professional indemnity insurance (PII) arrangements.

When applying for registration or renewal of registration, nurses and midwives will be required to declare that appropriate PII arrangements are, or will be, in place while they practise nursing or midwifery.

Nurses and midwives who hold private insurance cover in their own name are required to retain documentary evidence of their insurance and to provide it to the Board on request.

Nurses and midwives in a genuine employment or student relationship would be covered vicariously by the employer’s or education institution’s insurance. It is the nurse or midwife’s responsibility to understand the nature of the cover under which they are practising.

Nurses and midwives in different types of practice will require different levels of professional indemnity cover according to their individual scope of practice and risk.

The Board encourages practitioners who are assessing whether they have appropriate professional indemnity arrangements in place to consider:

  • the practice setting and the type of services and care delivered
  • the patient or client group
  • advice from professional indemnity insurers, professional associations and industrial organisations
  • current employment status.

Self-employed nurses and midwives are also required to have run-off cover, except those midwives practising privately who are exempt under the National Law.

More information on the Board’s requirement for professional indemnity insurance is available on the Board’s website:


The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia has published the following guideline on professional indemnity insurance (PII). Please refer to the table labelled 'Nurses' under Codes and guidelines on the National Board website


If I am employed, do I to take out my own professional indemnity insurance?

Even if you are an employee, you should consider obtaining professional indemnity insurance cover.  It is generally considered that any person or company that is providing a professional service, supplies specialist advice or possesses a specialist skill that is relied upon by another - should have some form of professional indemnity.


What if I provide services in Primary Health Care?

Nurses who are engaged to deliver services in Primary Health Care must be aware of and ensure they meet the insurance requirements for that program which are:

  • Workers compensation in accordance with the state/territory legislation
  • Public liability insurance
  • Professional indemnity insurance 
  • Vicarious liability cover

Check requirements with PHN

If the mental health nurse is an employee, they should ensure their employer’s insurance covers their mental health nursing practice.

Nurses and midwives who hold private insurance cover in their own name are required to retain documentary evidence of their insurance and to provide it to the NMBA on request.


Where can I obtain insurance cover?


The ACMHN does not endorse or recommend any particular insurer.  There are many different insurers you can go with, providing a range of insurance products. We recommend that you do a comprehensive search to ensure that you are getting the best deal and meeting your insurance requirements.

You may like to ask fellow mental health nurses via our Nursing eList. You can do this via 




Professional indemnity insurance

Professional indemnity insurance provides financial protection in the event that someone makes a claim against you in your capacity as a professional e.g. a claim against you might be made as a result of a negligent act, error or omission.

This type of insurance is available to practitioners and organisations across a range of industries and covers the costs and expenses of defending a legal claim, as well as any damages payable. Some government organisations under policies of the owning government are self-insured for the same range of matters.


Public liability insurance

Public liability insurance protects a business' against claims made for personal injury or property damage if the business is found to be negligent. E.g. Nurses who provide services in a private practice, or under MHNIP but using their own rooms will be required to take out Public Liability Insurance.


Run-off cover

Run-off cover means insurance that protects a practitioner who has ceased a particular practice or business against claims that arise out of activities which occurred when he or she was conducting that practice or business. This type of cover may be included in a PII policy or may need to be purchased separately.



Fourth National Mental Health Plan commitment: 13 November 2009

The Australian Health Ministers’ Conference today reaffirmed its commitment to improving the mental health and wellbeing of all Australians, recognising that one in five Australians continue to experience a mental illness in a given year.

Today health ministers publicly released the Fourth National Mental Health Plan: an agenda for collaborative government action in mental health 2009-2014.

The Plan has five priority areas for government action in mental health:

  1. Social inclusion and recovery;
  2. Prevention and early intervention;
  3. Service access, coordination and continuity of care;
  4. Quality improvement and innovation; and
  5. Accountability - measuring and reporting progress.

While led by health ministers, the Plan takes a whole of government approach. This approach acknowledges that the best mental health outcomes are achieved through a partnership involving sectors other than just health.

The Plan is ambitious in its approach and for the first time includes a robust accountability framework. Each year, governments will report progress on implementation of the Plan to the Council of Australian Governments

Senate Inquiry into Suicide: ACMHN to make submission

Do you have a client who have lost a loved one through suicide?  Do you look after people who have attempted suicide? Or do you educate carers, consumers or colleagues about suicide prevention? Whether suicide and all the related issues are a small part of your work or a large component, we need your input.

The Senate is conducting an inquiry into suicide in Australia, looking into the impact of suicide on the Australian community including high risk groups such as Indigenous youth and rural communities. The Australian College of Mental Health Nurses is preparing a submission to inquiry.  The College’s submission will raise awareness about the integral role mental health nurses play in the care of those at risk of suicide and others affected by suicide.  We would like to get a complete picture of your diverse roles and activities to inform the submission.

You can contribute by participating in a 20 minute survey that asks you about your roles in this important area and what you think should be done to prevent suicide and improve care for those at risk of suicide.  Participate NOW.

A mental health first aid training program for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training was developed in Australia to teach members of the public how to give initial help to someone developing a mental health problem or in a mental health crisis situation. However, this type of training requires adaptation for specific cultural groups in the community. This paper describes the adaptation of the program to create an Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health First Aid (AMHFA) course and presents an initial evaluation of its uptake and acceptability.

Lifeline Information Service - 1300 13 11 14

Your Rural Mental Health Information Service Lifeline's Information Service is a rural mental health information service. Information provided includes: referral to services and web sites, printed material and a range of self help resources. The self-help resources focus on practical steps to help promote mental health in a range of areas. For information and copies of resources call or visit and further information is available at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and

Bush Crisis Line - 1800 805 391

Bush Crisis Line is a twenty-four hour confidential telephone support and debriefing service for multi-disciplinary remote and rural health practitioners and their families. It is staffed by qualified psychologists with remote and cross-cultural experience, is toll free and available from anywhere in Australia. For more information


1st Australian Rural & Remote Mental Health Symposium

Canberra, 2-3 November 2009

Australia's welfare 2009 conference

Canberra, 17 November 2009

Our one-day national welfare conference offers a value-for-money opportunity to hear from international and Australian experts and get the latest statistics on social inclusion and welfare services. This year's event features the Reverend Tim Costello, Australian of the Year Mick Dodson, the Hon. Jenny Macklin MP, and Chair of the Australian Social Inclusion Board Patricia Faulkner.,M3,7be89b98-74da-47c9-bca4-a617198cc580