Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency - Information for employers

Information for employers

UPDATED 22 September 2022 — Information for employers of health practitioners on the pandemic response sub-register

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. These practitioners are registered on the temporary pandemic response sub-register (the sub-register) and are included on the national Register of practitioners. They would not normally be available as a healthcare workforce and have temporary registration to support the COVID-19 response and other healthcare demands facing our health system.

Employers reminded to check the public register

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.

Their registration on the sub-register expires on 21 September 2023.

It is important that you check the sub-register on or soon after 22 September 2022 to confirm a practitioner’s registration status. If a practitioner who you employ or who you are considering employing is not on the public register (listed either on the sub-register or the main register), they are not registered.

If a practitioner applied to transition from the sub-register to the main register before 22 September 2022, they can keep practising from this date while waiting for a decision on their application. Their details will be updated once registration on the main register is confirmed, including the date when their registration will expire.

Our response to COVID-19

Ahpra and National Boards recognise health service needs may evolve as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and will keep working with state and territory and Commonwealth governments to support the COVID-19 emergency response.

This includes escalating applications for registration to the main Register of practitioners where there is workforce need due to demands created by the pandemic.

More information about the pandemic response sub-register, including up-to-date data about how many practitioners are on it, is on the pandemic response sub-register page.

On the sub-register are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners, dental practitioners, diagnostic radiographers, medical practitioners, midwives, nurses, occupational therapists, optometrists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, podiatrists and psychologists. They are registered until 21 September 2023. These practitioners can work to the full scope of their registration (subject to any notations).

 

The Register of practitioners is available on the Ahpra website. Private employers considering employing practitioners who are on the sub-register can search for registered practitioners by surname on the Register of practitioners to check they hold registration.

On the public Register of practitioners, the practitioner's entry and a notation indicate if they are on the pandemic response sub-register.

Registration details

Pandemic response sub-register notation

The practitioner’s entry on the Register of practitioners also includes the usual registration information including the practitioner’s qualifications and type of registration. Practitioners on the sub-register have registration that ends on 21 September 2023.

 

In order to fast track the return of experienced and qualified health practitioners to the workforce, most registration and return to practice requirements have been waived.

Practitioners have been asked to opt-out of being on the sub-register if they:

  • are unavailable or choose to not be included in the surge health workforce
  • have a health issue which prevents them from practising safely
  • have had a change to their criminal history
  • cannot get professional indemnity insurance arrangements in place as required to practise, or
  • are unavailable or not suitable or safe to practise.

Employers must conduct appropriate pre-employment checks before employing practitioners from the sub-register.

Before employing a practitioner from the sub-register, employers need to consider:

  • conducting your own criminal history checks before employment. (Practitioners have not had to make criminal history declarations or had criminal history checks to be on the sub-register.)
  • whether adequate professional indemnity insurance arrangements are in place. (Practitioners cannot work without appropriate insurance arrangements that meet their Board’s registration standard.)
  • the health of the practitioner. (Practitioners have not had to make any declarations about their health to be on the sub-register.)

Employers who wish to employ or engage practitioners on the sub-register have a responsibility to support them to make a safe return to practice and to ensure patient safety. 

Employers should consider:

  • whether the practitioner has maintained recent skills and knowledge to carry out the role. (Practitioners have not been required to make any declarations about their recency of practice before being added to the sub-register or while on it.)
  • the practitioner’s qualifications, experience, capacity and competence to safely practise autonomously or with direct/indirect supervision
  • health service capacity to support any required supervision of the practitioner including available skill mix, model of care and staffing levels
  • the practitioner’s understanding of health service policies, procedures and clinical practice guidelines, including any necessary orientation and health service induction
  • the practitioner’s understanding of their scope of practice, accountability and reporting responsibilities. 

Employers should also have regard to the health and safety of practitioners on the sub-registers, particularly if they are in a high-risk group for COVID-19 for more severe infection.

Practitioners on the sub-register are expected to complete any training or education that’s required while employed to ensure their knowledge and skills are appropriate for the role. While compliance with the registration standard for continuing professional development is required for continuing registration, there will be no checks for compliance with the standard when the sub-register is closed or if a practitioner on the sub-register chooses to apply for registration on the main register.

All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners, dental practitioners, diagnostic radiographers, medical practitioners, midwives, nurses, occupational therapists, optometrists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, podiatrists and psychologists on the sub-register have registration that expires on 21 September 2023.

As an employer you have an obligation to make sure that the registered health practitioners you have employed are registered. You can look up all registered health practitioners on the Register of practitioners. The public register will show if a practitioner is on the pandemic response sub-register or if they have successfully transitioned to the main register.

Practitioners who have transitioned to the main register will have a registration expiry date aligned to the registration renewal date for their profession. Their details will no longer show them as being on the pandemic response sub-register. If a practitioner is not on the Register of practitioners, they are not registered.

 

In early 2020, as health services prepared for the expected surge in demand resulting from COVID-19, Health Ministers asked Ahpra and National Boards to enable experienced and qualified health practitioners to quickly return to practice. A pandemic response sub-register enabled those eligible practitioners to be registered if they wish, without having to fill in forms or pay fees.

Since then, eligible practitioners have been added to the sub-register at different times to meet changing demands on the health system. Practitioners on the sub-register have temporary registration and can practise to the full scope of their registration (subject to any notations) until the expiry date recorded on the public register.


 
 
 
Page reviewed 22/09/2022