Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency - Our recommendations to improve accreditation in the National Scheme
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Our recommendations to improve accreditation in the National Scheme

13 Nov 2017

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and 13 National Boards have today published our joint submission to the Independent Accreditation Systems Review draft report (the draft report).

The published submission includes additional responses from four participating National Boards - Chiropractic, Medical, Optometry and Psychology. The Pharmacy Board made a separate submission and has published this on their website.

The joint submission explains our views about the reforms proposed by the draft report and how best to improve the effectiveness of accreditation - a key element of the National Scheme1. We welcome the opportunity to support improvements to the National Scheme to make it as effective and efficient as possible.

Health Ministers commissioned the Independent Accreditation Systems Review (the Review) following a review of the National Scheme as a whole.

Many of the reforms proposed by the draft report released by the Review team on 4 September 2017 would, in their current form, require legislative change along with transfer of functions between existing and new National Scheme bodies.

AHPRA and National Boards welcomed the opportunity to comment on the substantial reform proposals in the draft report. The 38 detailed recommendations in the draft report and their progress following the Review are of significant interest and impact to our mission and work and that of our partners and stakeholders. In developing our joint submission, we focused on the potential to achieve maximum benefits for minimal cost, regulatory burden, complexity and time.

We agree that governance is the key issue for the Review. However, in our view, the draft report’s proposal to establish a new statutory Board in the National Scheme in addition to the 15 National Boards and AHPRA is not the most efficient and effective governance reform and is likely to have other, possibly unintended, impacts. Further, we consider establishing 12 new Accreditation Committees as statutory entities in addition to the existing 11 Accreditation Councils and 3 current Accreditation Committees would add unnecessary complication and cost to the registrants (who fund the National Scheme) and to education providers.

Instead, our submission proposes to build on the existing bodies and governance mechanisms in the National Scheme rather than establishing new bodies. We believe that this approach would deliver much of the desired reform for much less complexity and cost. A key aspect of our proposal is to establish clear accountability and responsibility for progressing desired reforms to address a current gap in governance which has constrained improvements.

AHPRA and National Boards look forward to the Review’s final report and Health Ministers’ response in due course.

1 National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (the National Scheme).

Page reviewed 13/11/2017