Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency - Information for practitioners

Information for practitioners

UPDATED 2 November 2022 — Information for practitioners about the pandemic response sub-register

Registered health practitioners are playing a vital role in the COVID-19 response by 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 on its services. These practitioners are registered on the temporary pandemic response sub-register (the sub-register) and are included on the national Register of practitioners.

Important information for practitioners on the sub-register 

Your free registration on the temporary sub-register will expire at midnight on 21 September 2023. This is when the sub-register is scheduled to close. If your name is not on the sub-register, you 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 you had taken advantage of your 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 we did not hear from you, your registration expired on 21 September 2022 and you were either removed from the sub-register or returned to the registration status you had previously (not registered or non-practising registration).

Please email the FAQs below if the FAQs below do not answer your questions.

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

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

The professions 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 and can practise to the full scope of their registration (subject to notations).

You needed to apply by 21 September 2022 to transition from the sub-register to the main register (Register of practitioners). You will stay on the sub-register while your application to transition to the main register is assessed and you can keep practising. If your application is successful, your registration details on the public register will be updated, including your registration expiry date.

Nurses and midwives on the sub-register who are granted registration on the main register using the transition pathway to apply will be registered until 31 May 2023.

Medical practitioners will be registered until 30 September 2023.

All other practitioners will be registered until 30 November 2023.

No, there is no fee to be on the sub-register. If a practitioner who is on the sub-register is employed during the temporary period of registration, they still do not have to pay a fee.

Ahpra registers health practitioners so they can practise, but we do not have a role in employing practitioners. There are links to Commonwealth, state and territory health department websites on the COVID-19 health workforce webpage.

The expectation is that if you are on the sub-register you are available to help. Employment may be subject to your vaccination status. Practitioners on the sub-register can work to the full scope of their registration (subject to any notations).

Practitioners who choose to stay on the pandemic response sub-register and go back to work, must comply with their profession’s professional indemnity insurance requirements, Code of conduct and work within their scope of practice. Medical practitioners and midwives who are on a sub-register should also refer to the FAQ about run-off indemnity cover.

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 (CPD) is required for continuing registration, there will be no checks for compliance with the standard when the sub-register is closed. If a practitioner on the sub-register chooses to apply for continuing registration on the main register, then CPD completed may be relevant but compliance with the registration standard will not be checked.

There is no obligation to practise outside of supporting the vaccination program if you do not want to. Supporting the COVID-19 vaccination program may include roles associated with but not limited to:

  • handling and storage activities
  • dosing and administering the vaccine/and or helping with this, and/or
  • safety and surveillance monitoring following vaccination.

Registered health practitioners who are authorised to administer COVID-19 vaccines will be required to complete additional training related to the handling and administration of the vaccines, including the Commonwealth Department of Health’s COVID-19 vaccination training program.

Ahpra and National Boards have also published some useful vaccination information for practitioners.

State and territory health department may have opportunities to support the vaccination program or perform other duties such as relieving healthcare workers at vaccination centres so they can return to frontline care or backfilling workers in quarantine.

A number of healthcare and recruitment organisations are seeking staff to support the vaccination program. There are opportunities to support:

  • aged care and disability facilities
  • general practice led COVID clinics, and
  • large scale vaccination clinics run by state and territory health departments.

Information about current opportunities can be found at:

You can find general information on our vaccination information page.

Through creation of the pandemic response sub-register in 2020, special arrangements were put in place via regulation 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.

The extension of this special arrangement is provided under the Medical Indemnity Rules 2000 and the Midwife Professional Indemnity (Commonwealth Contribution) Scheme Rules 2020 and only applies to medical practitioners and midwives.

These arrangements apply until 21 September 2023 (see Medical and Midwife Indemnity Legislation Amendment (Eligible Run-off Claims) (No 3) Rules 2022). Any further extensions will be confirmed by the Department of Health. Medical practitioners and midwives on the sub-register can work to the full scope of their registration (subject to any notations).

Yes, you can. Tell us that you want to opt out of the sub-register by contacting us at Alternatively, you can do nothing and your temporary registration on the sub-register will expire on 21 September 2023. From 22 September 2023, you will no longer hold registration enabling you to practise.

No. We recognise health service needs may evolve as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and we 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.

Only practitioners who meet eligibility requirements have been included on the sub-register since it was established in 2020.

If governments alert us to significant changes in need, we may add other eligible practitioners to the sub-register in the future to help provide additional surge health workforce.

Page reviewed 3/11/2022