24 Mar 2020
Registered health practitioners, in this unprecedented situation, are playing a vital role in treating and containing the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. We know you are working to keep people safe in a demanding and fast-changing environment.
While maintaining standards for safe practice, we are responding with policies that will get more practitioners into the health system quickly to support you as you come under increasing pressure. We are aware of the flexibility required in scopes of practice for those working outside their usual clinical roles in this emergency.
We are working with health departments and others to prioritise registration for medical practitioners, nurses, midwives, paramedics and pharmacists as a matter of urgency.
We also are prioritising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners as a vital workforce to care for Indigenous Peoples across our communities. Additionally, we will look to have a focus on psychologists and physiotherapists who will be critical to support the mental health and rehabilitation of people, resulting from this pandemic.
We are looking at a mechanism to fast-track return to registration of qualified people in priority professions who may be recently retired, non-practising or have a small gap in their recency of practice. We are working with governments to finalise this process and will provide more information shortly.
We will grant limited registration to suitable practitioners (for example, internationally qualified practitioners who are in Australia and waiting for bridging programs) where they are in a profession identified as a priority and who meet our requirements.
We’ve heard from registered students and others about the impact of COVID-19 on education and clinical training. As we all respond to the emergency we must ensure the safety and welfare of students and that they can be confident of progressing through their programs and joining the registered health workforce.
We will be working with accreditation authorities, health services, education providers and governments to ensure a pragmatic and fair approach is taken to students who are impacted by COVID-19.
We are committed to supporting health practitioners to continue to provide safe care to their communities. We will provide regular updates via email and have a dedicated section for frequently asked questions and COVID-19 updates on the Ahpra website.
Please also ensure you stay up to date via the www.health.gov.au website and your local health department website.