Friday, March 28, 2008

National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for Health Professions

Tony Greville has spent some time looking at the national registration of health professionals. He has been reading the Intergovernmental Agreement attached to the COAG Communiqué of 26 March 2008 and has prepared this summary for us.

What is the objective?

To set up a single national registration and accreditation scheme for health professionals

with effect from 1 July 2010.

Initially including the nine health professions currently registered in all jurisdictions:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Optometry
  • Nursing & midwifery
  • Chiropractic care
  • Pharmacy
  • Dental care (dentists, dental hygienists, dental prosthetists, dental therapists)
  • Medicine
  • Psychology
  • Osteopathy

What structure and function will it take?

The scheme will consist of:

· a Ministerial Council – the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council

· an independent Australian Health Workforce Advisory Council

· a National Agency with an agency management committee

Agency Management Committee

· a national office to support the operations of the scheme

with at least one local presence in each State and Territory

· Profession-specific National Boards

National and local committees (**the local committees may represent an opportunity for consumer reps)

· Committees of the Boards

What is the process for implementation?

There is an Intergovernmental Agreement dated the 26 March 2008 between the Commonwealth and all jurisdictions to establish and operate the scheme.

The structure and functions of the national scheme are to be set out in State-based legislation establishing the scheme.

Queensland will host the substantive legislation to give effect to the national scheme – the legislation is subject to AHMAC approval. Queensland will then take the lead in enacting the primary legislation to establish the scheme. (Queensland is probably the lead agency having a unicameral legislature.)

Western Australia will then enact corresponding legislation. Following on, the other jurisdictions will enact legislation. All legislation is to be aimed at establishing the scheme on 1 July 2010.

Each jurisdiction will repeal their existing health professional legislation, thereby abolishing the current state-based registration boards.

Each jurisdiction will legislate for entities in their jurisdiction to investigate and hear serious disciplinary matters and appeals from less serious disciplinary matters arising from the registration function. Selecting the entity responsible will be a matter for each jurisdiction but in accordance with national criteria agreed to by AHMC.

The AHMC will administratively establish the national agency, with an interim CEO, as soon as possible to commence the implementation of the scheme.

There will be a jurisdictional presence of the national office of the national agency (with existing jurisdictional registration board staff being given first consideration in staffing the new presence).

Until legislation establishes the Ministerial Council, the AHMC will, from the signing of the Agreement, be responsible for the implementation of the scheme.

Tony can be contacted at

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