You can check our national online register of practitioners to see if someone is registered and if there are any special requirements on their registration.
The pandemic response sub-register was set up last year to fast track the return to the workforce of experienced and qualified health practitioners to help in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was intended to remain in place for 12 months. In early April 2021, at the request of Health Ministers, National Boards agreed that medical practitioners, nurses, midwives, pharmacists and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners would remain on the sub-register for up to another 12 months (to 5 April 2022) to help with the COVID-19 vaccination program.
The sub-register for psychologists, physiotherapists and diagnostic radiographers closed on 19 April 2021. All professions could apply for ongoing registration through a transition pathway before the sub-register closed. Practitioners who did not apply cannot practise.
There are 26,595 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners, medical practitioners, midwives, nurses and pharmacists on the sub-register.
In the graduate customer experience survey we asked how can we improve the process for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants.
Survey participants who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander (2.6%) suggested:
From March 2020, internationally qualified nurses and midwives (IQNMs) who wish to apply for registration in Australia are required to complete an online assessment of their qualifications. Those who hold qualification/s that are substantially equivalent or based on similar competencies to an Australian graduate (and who meet the mandatory registration standards) progress to an application for registration.
IQNMs who hold relevant but not equivalent qualification/s must successfully complete an outcomes-based assessment before being eligible to apply. These IQNMs complete two exams:
The MCQ examinations are:
The OSCEs for IQNMs are coordinated by Ahpra at Adelaide Health Simulation. A total of 109 internationally qualified registered nurses participated in the RN OSCE offered in February, April and June. The EN OSCE and a midwife OSCE are yet to be delivered.
The delivery of all these exams has, to varying extents, been affected by restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ahpra coordinated the following exams:
The graduate campaign opened two weeks earlier (in mid-September) in response to advice from stakeholders that clinical placements for some students may be delayed due to COVID-19, which in turn could affect graduation dates and potentially employment start dates.
By opening the graduate campaign early, our aim was to:
Our early preparations focused on recruiting and training new staff and supporting students with new resources, including an animated video to help them complete their applications correctly.
Targeted communication strategies also included:
The webinars were well attended with registrations for the nursing webinars reaching the 1,000-maximum capacity. The webinars were then published on our website.
We successfully conducted our second ‘applicant experience’ survey of graduates with 27,275 registrants invited to participate in the voluntary survey and we achieved an improved response rate of 22.4% (compared to 15.8% last year). Overall the feedback was positive, with almost 80% of respondents satisfied with how their application was managed.
Most respondents commented favourably on the timeliness of their assessment, felt they were generally well informed about their application status, had positive interactions with our Customer Service team and found the online form, process and website easy to understand.
Ahpra offices have remained closed to the public due to ongoing public health restrictions. Applicants and registered health practitioners continue to submit applications and other forms online, along with supporting documents. This process has significantly reduced hardcopy submissions and enables practitioners to join the healthcare workforce sooner by reducing the time required to mail and process information, so we will continue with this approach.
1This was incorrectly reported in last year's report as 693,751 practitioners, as we missed including paramedics in the total. With paramedics, 713,402 practitioners renewed their registration in 2019/20.
The timing of audits was affected by COVID-19. We completed 1,055 audits.
The standards that may be audited are: