Ahpra and National Boards have extended the support available from retired pharmacists and other registered health practitioners on the pandemic response sub-register, for a further 12 months from this week
This decision was made in response to a request by the Australian Government.
The decision for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners, medical practitioners, midwives, nurses and pharmacists to remain on the sub-register has been made to provide additional support for the COVID-19 vaccination rollout.
Last week, Ahpra and National Boards announced that the sub-register would start to close. This remains the case for diagnostic radiographers, physiotherapists and psychologists and the sub-register will close on 19 April 2021 for those professions
However, this week’s decision, which shows the effectiveness of the sub-register’s contribution to Australia’s COVID-19 pandemic response, means that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners, medical practitioners, midwives, nurses and pharmacists and will be extended from 6 April 2021 for up to 12 months. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Health Practitioners who are on the sub-register until 30 June 2021 will also be extended.
The sub-register was established as a temporary measure a year ago to allow health practitioners who previously held general or specialist registration and had left the Register of practitioners or moved to non-practising registration in the past three years to return to practice. Only those who are properly qualified, competent and suitable were returned to the sub-register.
“Practitioners on the sub-register are a valued part of supporting the Australian community during the pandemic, particularly for the COVID-19 vaccination program,” said Ahpra CEO Martin Fletcher.
“We acknowledge this and support the Government’s request to keep the sub-register open for up to 12 months more.”
The request by the government supports the importance of setting up the sub-register 12 months ago, he said.
“So far, 1,747 health practitioners have applied for registration to move from the sub-register onto the main Register of practitioners.
“That, along with the extension of the sub-register, will give health departments and employers an additional workforce option to support the national vaccination program.
“We are pleased that the sub-register has been recognised as a valuable tool to Government in its roll out of this program,” Mr Fletcher said.
The sub-register will be extended for eligible practitioners until 5 April 2022. Practitioners who are extended on the sub-register will be limited to practice only to help with the COVID-19 vaccination rollout.
Medical practitioners, nurses, midwives and pharmacists who were on the sub-register and did not apply to transition to the main Register of practitioners are being extended on the sub-register up to an additional 12 months.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Health Practitioners who are on the register until 30 June 2021 and will also be extended on the sub-register.
To stay on the sub-register, practitioners do not need to do anything and do not have to pay fees.
There is no obligation to practise or remain on the sub-register, however, if practitioners do not opt out, they may be contacted by Health Department representatives to see if they do wish to support the vaccination rollout. They can opt out for any reason and do not need to say why.
The Australian Government expects practitioners who authorise and/or administer COVID-19 vaccinations to complete additional training and be vaccinated.