Aboriginal Health Workers and national registration and accreditation

Current topic
Published in the HealthBulletin Journal
Posted on:
14 March, 2011

On 1 July 2012, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners will join the national registration and accreditation scheme (the national scheme). The national scheme commenced on the 1 July 2010 when the first 10 health professions moved from state and territory based registration. This scheme is governed by the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act (the national law) and is administered by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) together with the 10 existing national boards.

Under the national law, health professionals can move around the country and work in other states and territories more easily, red tape is reduced, greater safeguards are provided for the public and the health workforce is more flexible, responsive and sustainable. For example, the new scheme maintains a public national register for each health profession to ensure that a registered practitioner who has been banned from practising in one place is unable to practise elsewhere in Australia.

The term Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner refers to a new registered workforce and the people most likely to fill this workforce will be appropriately qualified and skilled Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers. It should be noted that not all people employed as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers are likely to be required to be registered and may prefer to stay as unregistered health workers.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Board of Australia is expected to be appointed by Australian Health Ministers by July 2011.

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