Ahpra and the National Boards established the pandemic response sub-register (the sub-register) in April 2020 to help facilitate a surge health workforce in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the peak of the pandemic, 40,000 eligible health practitioners (doctors, nurses, midwives and pharmacists) were on the sub-register. These practitioners had previously held general or specialist registration and recently left the Register of practitioners or changed to non-practising registration.
Practitioners from other professions were added to the sub-register at different times to meet changing health system demands. It was not compulsory to be on the sub-register and practitioners could opt out at any time.
Practitioners who remained on the sub-register had registration due to expire on 21 September 2023. So these practitioners could keep practising and continue providing ongoing support to our health system, they were transitioned from the sub-register to the Register of practitioners on Thursday 8 June 2023.
They were from the following professions: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practice, dental, medical radiation practice, medical, midwifery, nursing, occupational therapy, optometry, pharmacy, physiotherapy, podiatry and psychology.
These practitioners no longer have the notation – ‘Registered on pandemic response sub-register’ on their registration and are now registered until:
Practitioners who wish to continue practising after these dates will need to renew their registration as normal (standard declarations and fees apply). If they had non-practising registration before being on the sub-register and would like to return to that registration type, they will need to make the appropriate application at renewal (request a change to non-practising registration). Alternatively, they can do nothing and allow their registration to lapse.
Practitioners will be sent the usual renewal reminders by email before their registration is due to expire.
Special arrangements were put in place via regulation in 2020 to enable run-off indemnity cover to be maintained for medical practitioners and midwives on the sub-register and working in private practice to help with the COVID-19 pandemic.
These arrangements apply until 21 September 2023 and will not be extended (Medical Indemnity Rules 2020) and Midwife Professional Indemnity (Commonwealth Contribution) Scheme Rules 2020). Medical practitioners and midwives who continue to practise beyond this date must have full professional indemnity insurance cover in place.