The regulation of almost 660,000 registered health practitioners across 14 health professions and a federation of eight states and territories is a large and important task.
Our number one priority is patient safety while enabling a competent and flexible health workforce to meet the current and future health needs of the Australian community.
The National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (the National Scheme) means different things to different people.
The community has access to registered health practitioners who must meet national registration standards. It also means being able to easily view information about each registered practitioner on our public online register.
Most health practitioners can register once, renew yearly and practise anywhere in Australia.
For Australia, it means a national data resource to inform workforce planning and strategy development, and evidence-based approaches to risk management and policy implementation. Since the National Scheme began six years ago, AHPRA has, with the National Boards, worked relentlessly to improve how we do things. The past year has been no exception. We have continued to focus on the timeliness of our management of notifications and we have implemented actions to improve how we communicate with both notifiers and practitioners. We have streamlined our processes for registration and renewal. We have also strengthened our community and professional partnerships. We have worked closely with National Boards and their committees to ensure both timely and effective regulatory decision-making, consistent with our shared regulatory principles and our commitment to being a risk-based regulator.
In August 2015, we welcomed the release of the independent review of the National Scheme, which recognised its ‘unique and substantial achievement’ and noted overwhelming support for its Executive summary1.
The review’s final report, and the formal response from Health Ministers to its recommendations, provided a positive and solid foundation for the next phase of our work. In particular, Ministers asked that we focus on improving our responsiveness to consumers and take further actions to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the National Scheme.
In its November 2015 review of the quality of healthcare in Australia, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) highlighted that Australia’s national system for regulating 14 health professions makes Australia a leader among OECD countries.
We are proud that, along with the accreditation authorities and our co-regulatory partners, we are the stewards of Australia’s national health regulation scheme. We acknowledge the vision and support of Ministers in establishing the National Scheme. We thank AHPRA staff, and board and committee members for their commitment and hard work.
While much has been achieved, there is always more to do. We commit to a continued focus on strengthening the work of the National Scheme to serve the Australian community.
1. Independent Review of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for health professions: Final report, December 2014. Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council, 2014. p3.
Mr Martin Fletcher,
Chief Executive Officer
Mr Michael Gorton AM,
Chair, Agency Management Committee
Dr Joanna Flynn AM
Chair, Forum of NRAS Chairs
Chair, Medical Board of Australia