01 Jul 2020
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Board of Australia have announced that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners will be added to the pandemic response sub-register on 1 July 2020.
The sub-register enables Ahpra and National Boards to fast track the return to the workforce of qualified and experienced health practitioners.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners have been recognised as an important profession to help with Australia’s COVID-19 response.
These additional practitioners will join over 35,000 doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, diagnostic radiographers, physiotherapists and psychologists already on the pandemic response sub-register.
Ahpra CEO, Martin Fletcher, said that the National Scheme is working closely with governments and health services to address any health workforce demand that may arise from the pandemic including in areas where there may have been a flow-on impact.
‘Given the unpredictable nature of the pandemic, it is important to ensure that there is a culturally safe and ready workforce of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners to respond to any surge in healthcare demand,’ Mr Fletcher said.
‘Being on the pandemic response sub-register does not necessarily mean a practitioner will find a job, but it will make it easier for employers to find them should there be a need,’ he added.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Board Chair Renee Owen said: ‘This profession provides unique, culturally safe practice to all communities, and especially Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.’
Eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners were sent an email about ‘opting-in’ to the sub-register.
‘All along we have strongly encouraged those who are not comfortable being part of the sub-register, or have a health issue that prevents them from practising safely, to not join the temporary sub-register,’ Mr Fletcher said.
The pandemic response sub-register was established following a request from Australia’s Health Ministers to enable more health practitioners to quickly return to practice.
It will only operate for up to 12 months, as it is a response to the pandemic.
There is no obligation for anyone added to the sub-register to practise or remain on it. They can opt out at any time, for any reason. Eligible practitioners do not need to fill in forms or pay fees, nor meet the usual return to practice requirements to join the sub-register.
Practitioners who wish to continue practising after the emergency will be able to apply for ongoing registration through the standard process.
For more information visit the COVID-19 information page: www.ahpra.gov.au/News/COVID-19
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) is the national organisation responsible for implementing the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (the National Scheme) across Australia. Ahpra works in partnership with 15 National Boards to regulate Australia’s 740,000 registered health practitioners. Together, our primary role is to protect the public and set the standards and policies that all registered health practitioners must meet. When practitioners meet those standards, they can register once, renew yearly, and practise anywhere in Australia as long as they keep meeting their obligations. We publish a register listing all registered health practitioners and the details of their registration, including any restrictions we’ve placed on their registration. If you, or anyone you know, has concerns about the health, conduct or performance of a registered practitioner, or think someone might be falsely claiming to be a registered practitioner, let us know.