Updated May 2019
Australia’s national registration and accreditation scheme (the National Scheme) began nationally on 1 July 2010, with the exception of Western Australia which joined the scheme on 18 October 2010. The National Scheme is governed by nationally consistent legislation, the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law as in force in each State and Territory (the National Law). The role of the National Boards under the National Law is to protect the public.
Under the National Law, the National Boards for each of the 14 professions have the power to register students. Student registration commenced on 31 March 2011 for Chiropractic, Dental, Medical, Nursing, Midwifery, Optometry, Osteopathy, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy and Podiatry professions. On 1 July 2012, Chinese Medicine, Medical Radiation practice, Occupational Therapy and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practice professions joined the National Scheme for which student registration also applies.
The Psychology Board of Australia does not register students. Psychology students need to apply for provisional registration. Psychology students wishing to apply for provisional registration must do so either at the beginning of:
a) the 4+2 internship program; or
b) their higher degree pathway.
Ministers for Health have been guided by the principle of public safety and determined that the impact of registration on students should be as limited as is necessary to protect public safety. They agreed that the National Scheme would enable National Boards to act on student health impairment matters or when there is a criminal conviction of a serious nature that may adversely impact on public safety. However, the National Boards have no role to play in the academic progress or conduct of students.
The Student Register is confidential. Ahpra cannot provide validation of student enrolment to health services that are not the designated education provider. Ahpra and National Boards take their obligations to protect individual’s privacy seriously. The National Law imposes a duty of confidentiality on persons exercising functions under the Law, and information is only disclosed by Ahpra or a National Board if the disclosure is within the law.
The privacy law regime which applies to the National Registration Scheme is the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and the National Privacy Principles under the Privacy Act (Cth). To ensure a uniform national approach to privacy issues, the states and territories have excluded the Privacy Act (however described in each jurisdiction) from its application to the National Registration Scheme.
The National Law states that a National Board may request information from an educational body where the Board requires the information to exercise its functions under this Law. An educational body receiving such a request is expressly authorised to give the information to the National Board.
An approved program of study, for a health profession means an accredited program of study—
(a) approved under section 49(1) by the National Board established for the health profession; and
(b) included in the list published by the National Agency under section 49(5).
A list of approved programs of study can be found on each National Board website.
The definition of an education provider in the National Law is broad.
Education provider is defined as:
a) a university; or
b) a tertiary education institution, or another institution or organisation, that provides vocational training; or
c) a specialist medical college or other health profession college.
The meaning of this definition includes:
All education providers must meet the requirements of the National Law in relation to student registration.
The National Law does not provide a definition for the term ‘clinical training’. Under the obligations imposed by section 91 of the National Law it has been taken to mean any form of clinical experience (also known as clinical placements, rotations etc.) in a health profession AND where the person does not hold registration in the health profession in which the clinical training is being undertaken. This might apply, for example:
Ahpra will issue a formal notice consistent with the National Law to coincide with census dates for Universities and TAFEs (March and August) to all education providers who are running an approved program of study.
Ahpra will continue to work closely with education providers to make sure ongoing data transfer is smooth. To promote this, education providers must:
Note: Ahpra has requested only information required under the National Law. If the information is not available, or is not held by the institution, education providers should advise Ahpra of this when submitting file/s to avoid any delays.
Send populated templates to email@example.com or contact Ahpra on this email address to arrange secure file transfer.
Ahpra will confirm students are registered with the education provider only after all student data received has been successfully processed.
Where there are data errors within a file, a report will be issued to the education provider outlining which records need corrections.
Individual students do not need to do anything to register with their National Board and be part of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme.
An education provider is required under the National Law to notify Ahpra if they reasonably believe:
Any entity (person or organisation) may make a voluntary notification about a student to Ahpra when they believe that the student:
The National Law provides protection from civil, criminal and administrative liability for those persons, who in good faith make a notification under the National Law.
In circumstances when a National Board suspends a student, imposes conditions on their registration or accepts an undertaking from a student, the National Board is required to give written notice of the event to the education provider who must, as soon as practicable after receiving the written notice, give notice to any entity with whom the student is undertaking clinical training.