The Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency, AHPRA, is a national agency which was set up to improve the standard and quality of health services across Australia. The AHPRA aims to achieve this aim by rolling out a national regulatory system for all healthcare professionals across Australia.
The operations of AHPRA are governed under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law. This is a law which came into being on the 1st of July in 2010. This law was the first time that 14 separate health professions in Australia had been regulated under the same legislation. This is the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme.
AHPRA is found in every state and territory of Australia
AHPRA can be found in every state and territory and they have responsibility for most of the operational matters in these states and territories. The organisation also holds a national office which is located in Melbourne.
The primary function of the National Boards is to provide a level of care and protection to the general public. This is achieved by setting policies and standards that every registered health practitioner has to meet. AHPRA works with every board to finalise the fees that every health practitioner should pay, what the budget of the Board is every year and what services should be provided by AHPRA.
As of the 1st of July 2010, ten health professions are under the scheme, and these professions are
- Nursing and midwifery
Since then, there has been an expansion in the scheme and the following professions are now part of AHPRA:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island health practitioners
- Chinese medicine practitioners
- Medical radiation practitioners
- Occupational therapists
It is not as if the AHPRA has come in and started everything from scratch. The organisation has worked with a number of individual boards to upgrade and implement adaptations of regulations and competency standards that have been in place for a long time. An example of this comes from the fact that the competency standards for Registered Nurses can be traced back to standards that had been initially adopted by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council in the first half of the 1990s.
Best practice is essential for AHPRA
AHPRA provides a number of services to National Boards including employing best practice approaches with respect to cover registration functions and in regulation. The body also aims to manage the National Public Register of Health Practitioners and to acknowledge and issue receipt of all complaints made on behalf of the relevant Boards. The AHPRA also holds responsibility for professional investigations and disciplinary procedures, although these actions can be subject to decisions made by individual states and territories.
The national office of AHPRA aims to implement a National Registration and Accreditation Scheme. The aim of this scheme is to ensure that people all across Australia can call upon the services of health quality practitioners that can be relied upon to offer safe and high quality services. AHPRA works closely with National Boards and they work in conjunction with a wide range of stakeholders in order to create one National Registration and Accreditation Scheme.
Have you been thinking about agency nursing in Australia? Email is your CV to [email protected]