No more need for surge workforce


yellow background, thank you in letters

The pandemic response sub-register is set to close for pharmacists on 5 April

Regulators have issued a statement thanking health practitioners on the pandemic response sub-register, which will be closed 12 months after it was established in response to COVID-19.

From April 2020, more than 34,720 practitioners from eight health professions answered the call to be on the sub-register, says Ahpra.

Established as a temporary measure, the sub-register allowed the return to work of qualified and experienced health practitioners to provide a potential surge health workforce during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The sub-register enabled practitioners who previously held general registration and had left the national register of practitioners, or those who had moved to non-practising registration in the past three years, to return to practice. 

In total 1,935 pharmacists signed up for the sub-register.

Only those who were properly qualified, competent and suitable were included on the sub-register. Inclusion on the sub-register was voluntary and practitioners could opt out.

Ahpra CEO Martin Fletcher said Australia’s registered health practitioners care for many thousands of people every day and it was important that the National Boards and Ahpra supported their efforts during a particularly difficult and uncertain time.

“The temporary pandemic response sub-register meant we had a surge workforce ready if it was needed to bolster the health workforce and support their efforts to keep our communities safe in the fight against COVID-19,” he said. 

Mr Fletcher said while responding to the COVID-19 pandemic is still an important focus for the Australian health workforce, the sub-register is now closing as there is no longer a need for a surge health workforce of this nature.

“The National Boards and Ahpra extend our sincere appreciation and thanks to all practitioners on the sub-register who opted to stay on in support of Australia’s healthcare system and the healthcare workforce,” he said.

Pandemic response sub-register closing dates

The sub-register closes:

  • on 5 April 2021 for medical practitioners, nurses, midwives and pharmacists
  • on 19 April 2021 for diagnostic radiographers, physiotherapists and psychologists, and
  • on 30 June 2021 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners.

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1 Comment

  1. Natalie Jenkins
    31/03/2021

    I am surprised by this as vaccination has only started and additional hands on deck may be needed for pharmacies involved in the roll out.

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