The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) is responsible for registering and regulating health practitioners in Australia. The AHPRA Register of Practitioners is a publicly available online database which contains information about all registered health practitioners in Australia. The information includes the practitioner’s name, registration number, registration category, registration status, registration date and any conditions or restrictions placed on the practitioner’s registration. It also includes contact details such as address, phone number and email address. The AHPRA Register of Practitioners can be searched by name, registration number or registration category.

Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency

australian health agency
  • Martin Fletcher, CEO
  • Chris Robertson, Executive Director, Strategy and Policy
  • Kym Ayscough, Executive Director, People & Culture
  • Clarence Yap, Chief Information Officer
  • Liz Davenport, Chief Financial Officer
Internet site https://www.ahpra.gov.au/

The Australian Healthcare Professionals Regulatory Agency (AHPRA)rarely written as the Australian Health Professionals Regulatory Agency it is a legal authority founded in 2010 which is responsible, in collaboration with the Medical Board of Australiafor registration and accreditation of Health professionals as established in Australian legislation called the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme. As of 2018[update]approximately 586,000 health care professionals are registered with the AHPRA, comprising 98,400 physicians (which includes general practitioners, specialist doctors and some hospital workers) and 334,000 nurses and midwives. This rose to 825,720 registered healthcare professionals in 2021.

The AHPRA is intended to facilitate the public safety of healthcare practice in Australia and is used to assess the qualifications of overseas healthcare professionals. According National Registration and Accreditation Scheme, it is necessary to be registered with the AHPRA to self-identify with one of the “protected titles” provided for in the legislation, and it is a crime to do so without registration. AHPRA maintains a public record of registered and related qualifications, accessible on its website. AHPRA is responsible for hearing and investigating complaints (which are legally referred to as “reports”) of “performance, health and conduct” from registrants. The AHPRA is also responsible for hearing complaints about unregistered professions, which include “unregistered health professionals who provide health services,” in violation of the National Code of Conduct for Health Professionals for behaving in an incompetent, exploitative, predatory or illegal manner.

Martin Fletcher has been the Executive Director of AHPRA since its inception. According to a 2011 publication, “Australia is [sic] the first country in the world to have a national registration and accreditation scheme that regulates healthcare professionals.”

regulated professions

From 2022[update], AHPRA regulates 16 medical professions in Australia. 12 of them were enacted under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme on July 1, 2010, listed exactly as:

In July 2012 this was expanded to include 4 additional professions:

The set of “protected titles” also includes common variations of these professional titles. In June 2022[update]the following professions are unregulated and do not have “protected titles” under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme:

In June 2022[update]While there are guidelines under the AHPRA for “physicians who perform cosmetic medical and surgical procedures”, the term “surgeon” and related terms such as “plastic surgeon” are not “protected titles”. This meant that doctors registered in Australia could obtain these titles even when they had different training and qualifications. A public consultation on this started on 1 December 2021 via involve Victoriaan online platform managed by government of victory health department, which ended feedback submissions on April 1, 2022.

Each regulated health profession is represented by a national council, of which 15 are represented, along with 21 specialist organisations.

Registration

There are four registration categories performed through the Medical Board of Australia, depending on the education and specialization, including “general”, “specialist”, “interim”, “limited”, and “non-practicing”, along with the student’s enrollment. New Zealand medical graduates are treated to the same registration standards as Australians, differing from the international registration process. As of July 22, 2021[update], there are separate fees for registration and enrollment. Initial registration and application fees for General, Specialty, and Limited Registrations are $835 AUDwith some categories of new south wales subscriptions that receive discounts.

The registration process includes a criminal background check, where individuals must inform the national council under the jurisdiction of the application if they have been “charged with a crime punishable by 12 months imprisonment or more, or convicted or found guilty of a offense punishable by imprisonment in Australia and/or abroad”. There is a dispute resolution process with the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and relevant police departments, if the result of a criminal background check precludes registration under the AHPRA.

complaint process

In AHPRA, complaints are referred to as “notices”. The grievance process includes several steps, which may go one step further, result in disciplinary action, a fast-track process called “immediate action,” or the grievance may be filed. Steps include receipt of the complaint, preliminary assessment, investigation, panel hearing and a court hearing and, at any stage in the proceedings, the claim to proceed immediately to a hearing in court. Unlike the other steps, the outcome of a court hearing is made public, and a court usually consists of “a District Court judge, two doctors and a layman, specially appointed to assess the evidence”.

According to AHPRA, in 2021 there were 10,147 notifications on 7,858 health professionals, with 1.6% of those registered being reported. According to Sharon Russell, “Many physicians will be the subject of an AHPRA complaint at some point in their career.”

Claims can be made online through the AHPRA website, by mail, over the phone or at an office. There is also a whistleblowing policy governed by the Public Interest Disclosure Law 2013 where anonymous complaints can be made for serious misconduct.

Criticism

AHPRA has been the subject of criticism, including on medical grounds. right to privacy and informed consent of those registered, and the long term for resolving complaints. There was an investigation in 2014 following complaints to the AHPRA about how complaints are managed, including a lack of transparency in the complaint review process and delays in investigations, with one case taking 2,368 days to resolve. There have been Senate inquiries (see Australian Senate Committees) fur australia parliament in 2011, 2017 and 2021 on related issues. The 2021 public submission in support of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners identified the main issues with the AHPRA as being “communication, transparency and timeliness of the grievance mechanism and the importance of appropriate recognition of the impacts of assessment and investigation on a practitioner’s mental health”.

Entries for the 2021 Senate Inquiry were extended through March 2022, with the final Senate report being released on April 1, 2022. The Senate Inquiry resulted in 14 recommendations, including improving the complaints process, more flexibility after a period of absence and the regulation of surgeons, social workers, elderly caregivers and personal care workers, along with the addition of these professions to the list of “protected titles”.

External Links

References


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