15 Oct 2018
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and National Boards welcome the publication of the Independent Accreditation Systems Review final report.
The Independent Accreditation Systems Review’s (the Review) final report makes significant, far reaching recommendations to reform the accreditation system for regulated health professions in Australia. It proposes recommendations which range from relatively uncontentious and which the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (the National Scheme) bodies generally support, to those which are significantly more complex and contentious.
Health Ministers commissioned the Review following a review of the National Scheme as a whole.
In their current form, many reforms recommended in the final report would require changes to legislation along with the transfer of functions between existing and new National Scheme bodies (which include National Boards, AHPRA and Accreditation Authorities). However, it is also the case that other issues in the final report are already well understood and generally supported by the National Scheme bodies.
Many issues raised in the final report are not new. Submissions to the Review by the National Scheme bodies as well as the Health Professions Accreditation Collaborative Forum provided information about work already underway relating to a number of areas outlined in the final report. This work continues as part of our commitment to continuous improvement, and making the accreditation functions in the National Scheme as effective as possible.
Achieving improvements as efficiently as possible was the core theme of the joint submission by AHPRA and National Boards to the Review’s draft report. The submission explained the potential that existed, if changes were made, to achieve maximum benefits, with minimal cost, regulatory burden, complexity and time.
To address this potential, National Scheme bodies are already focusing on how accreditation can address issues that contribute more broadly to the safety and quality of the Australian health system, such as cultural safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and interprofessional education and practice to support effective team based and coordinated care.
We are also exploring multi-profession approaches, while keeping profession specific content and features where necessary. We recognise the critical importance of profession specific expertise and input to development and implementation of these approaches.
As part of our work we have recognised opportunities to increase the transparency and accountability of accreditation elements of the National Scheme. This includes work we have done with Accreditation Authorities and National Boards through the Accreditation Liaison Group (ALG). During the Review, the ALG published a report on the costs of accreditation. Our work continues as we explore how best to report on accreditation performance and provide assurance that accreditation in the National Scheme is operating efficiently and effectively.
We are also committed to working more effectively with other bodies who have an interest in accreditation, such as the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) and the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA). We are inviting these organisations to participate on our Accreditation Advisory Committee.
In summary, areas of current and future work include:
We welcome Ministers’ decision to consult further about the final report’s recommendations, particularly those that are complex and where their implications need to be well understood, such as the proposed governance changes.
We look forward to contributing to the future consultation process and will continue our improvement work, pending Ministers’ ultimate decisions on the recommendations.