The Australian Federal Government has created a new agency, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), which will be a single national registration and accreditation system to “improve the quality and safety of Australia’s health services through a modernized national regulatory system for health professionals”.
ARPHA is the first outcome of a Council of Australian Government's initiative to coordinate registration and accreditation of professionals. The national system will include ten health professions as of 1 July 2010. These are: chiropractors; dental care practitioners; medical practitioners; nurses and midwives; optometrists; osteopaths; pharmacists; physiotherapists; podiatrists; and psychologists.
Services to be provided by AHPRA to its National Boards will include the management of a national public register of health practitioners, the receipt of complaints on behalf of the Boards and subject to decisions by States and Territories, responsibility to the Boards for professional investigations and disciplinary processes. These activities will require support by information management systems. It is intended that AHPRA will replace a variety of state-based systems in providing these services.
AHPRA does not officially commence operations as a regulatory agency until 1 July 2010 but clearly establishment activity is underway. The agency recently advertised for a Director, Operations, who has responsibility for the management of financial resources and delivery of information services in support of the National Boards.
AHPRA’s national office will be located in Melbourne and there will also be an office in each state and territory. The State and Territory offices will be responsible for the majority of operational matters.
Eight State/Territory managers are also being sought to provide leadership in transitioning staff and resources form current arrangements in respective States/Territories to AHPRA. These roles will become autonomous from July 2010.