Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council Communique

The Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council met in Hobart on 17 February.

Page last updated: 17 February 2011

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17 February 2011

Today Health Ministers received a report from the Australian Health Practitioners Regulatory Agency (AHPRA) that provided an update on its operation from the introduction of the new National Registration and Accreditation scheme 1 July 2010.

Health Ministers discussed a range of issues particularly around access and registration processes, during the transition to the new scheme.

Ministers agreed that action needed to be taken to address these concerns and restore professional confidence in the new National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for health practitioners.

AHPRA reported that they have processed more than 520,000 health practitioner registrations. Of these 7,700 had lapsed by the end of last year, only 500 of which wished to renew their registration. AHPRA report that these figures are consistent with rates demonstrated by the previous 85 different State and Territory Boards that managed health practitioner registration.

AHPRA advised Ministers of a number of steps being taken to address recent challenges including the establishment of a process to fast track practitioners whose registration has lapsed and who wish to continue their registration. Under the new Scheme, renewal processes provide additional safeguards for the public and AHPRA is working with health professionals so they become more familiar with these additional steps.

Ministers agreed that it is important that health practitioners who wish to continue to practise and their patients not be disadvantaged.

Ministers today agreed to provide additional support and expertise to assist AHPRA in managing this vital function. They also endorsed the fast tracking processes for health practitioners whose registration had lapsed and for enhancement of the on line applications and tracking process.

Additional monitoring of AHPRA will be introduced. AHPRA will be required to report to future meetings of Health Ministers.

The Commonwealth will consider ex-gratia or Act of Grace payment for a period of time so that patients are not disadvantaged by lapsed registration of their health care practitioner who is still practising.

Ministers also agreed that AHPRA will provide regular reports to AHWMC and the AHMC Chair, WA Health Minister, Dr Kim Hames, will commence immediate frequent discussions with AHPRA management to ensure registration processes are on track.

Media Contact: Ms Peta Rule, Dr Hames’ office – 0428 923 661
Ms Roxon’s Office 02 6277 7220

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