In April 2020, Ahpra and National Boards established a temporary pandemic response sub-register for up to 12 months to help fast track the return to the workforce of experienced and qualified health practitioners.
Responding to COVID-19 remains an important focus for Australian Governments and the community. Registered health practitioners are playing a vital role in supporting the vaccination rollout, this has meant that for some professions, the temporary sub-register has been extended.
In early April 2021, the Commonwealth Health Minister requested that medical practitioners, nurses, midwives and pharmacists be extended to stay on the sub-register for up to 12 months (to 5 April 2022) to help with the COVID-19 vaccination program only. This is also the case for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners.
For other professions including psychology, physiotherapy and diagnostic radiography the sub-register will close as planned from 19 April 2021. Ahpra has developed a process for practitioners on the sub-register to be able to apply for ongoing registration through a transition pathway.
The sub-register operated on an opt-out basis with eligible practitioners added to the pandemic sub-register automatically. There was no obligation for anyone added to the sub-register to practise or remain on it. Only those who are properly qualified, competent and suitable should be on the register.
Practitioners who chose to stay on the pandemic sub-register and go back to work, had to comply with their profession’s Code of conduct, professional indemnity insurance requirements and work within their scope of practice. After 12 months, they would be removed from the sub-register.
As of 8 April 2021, there are 31,930 doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, diagnostic radiographers, physiotherapists, psychologists and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners on the pandemic response sub-register.
We expect individuals to tell us under section 130 of the National Law, within seven days of becoming aware of a relevant event or change in status in relation to the events outline in the NOCE-00 form.