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 program and in providing healthcare across various settings.
Ahpra and the National Boards are supporting the COVID-19 response by helping provide access to a potential surge workforce when the healthcare system is experiencing changing demands due to outbreaks of COVID-19 variants. These practitioners are registered on the temporary pandemic response sub-register (the sub-register) and are included on the national Register of practitioners.
Practitioners from the following professions are currently on the sub-register: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practice, dental practice, diagnostic radiography, medical practice, midwifery, nursing, occupational therapy, optometry, pharmacy, physiotherapy, podiatry and psychology.
They are registered from 22 September 2022 to practise to the full scope of their registration which is due to expire at midnight on 21 September 2023.
It is important that all employers and health services who have employed practitioners listed on the sub-register check the Register of practitioners to confirm a practitioner’s current registration status. If the public register does not show a practitioner as being on the temporary sub-register or the main register, they are not registered to practise.
In late August 2022, we contacted all practitioners on the sub-register with important information about how to stay registered and keep practising if they had taken advantage of their temporary registration to return to practice.
Practitioners had the choice of extending their registration on the sub-register for a further 12 months or transitioning to the main register. If practitioners did not contact Ahpra before their registration expired, they were removed from the sub-register or returned to the registration status that had previously (not registered or non-practising registration).
For more, go to Information for employers or Information for practitioners.
Only practitioners who are properly qualified, competent and suitable should be on the sub-register. Practitioners who are in a high-risk category for COVID-19 should only work in a safe practice environment. They can opt out of being on the pandemic response sub-register at any time by emailing email@example.com and don’t need to explain why.
Practitioners on the sub-register who are practising must comply with their profession’s Code of conduct, professional indemnity insurance requirements and work within the scope of practice as allowed by the notation on their registration.
We expect practitioners on the temporary sub-register 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 outlined in the NOCE-00 form.
As of 3 January 2023, there are 1,767 dental practitioners, diagnostic radiographers, medical practitioners, midwives, nurses, occupational therapists, optometrists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, podiatrists, psychologists and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners on the pandemic response sub-register.
Since the temporary pandemic response sub-register was established in April 2020, eligible practitioners have been added at different times to meet changing demands on the health system.
Practitioners included on the sub-register were initially given temporary registration for 12 months. However, registration has been extended for practitioners who have opted to stay on the sub-register after its closure date has been extended.
Some practitioners, instead of staying on the temporary sub-register, have let their registration expire or chosen to apply for registration on the main register (Register of practitioners).
The timeline below shows which professions have been on the sub-register and for how long.