Medical Board of Australia - Regulators thank health practitioners as pandemic response sub-register starts to close
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Regulators thank health practitioners as pandemic response sub-register starts to close

30 Mar 2021

Regulators are 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. 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. 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, Mr 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.'

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.'

What the sub-register closure means for practitioners

Practitioners on the sub-register who wish to keep practising after it closes can apply for registration using a special transition pathway. They must apply before 11.59pm on the day the sub-register closes for their profession. If they miss the deadline, they will no longer hold registration that enables them to practise and will need to apply for registration through the standard process required by each National Board.

So far, 1,593 health practitioners have applied for registration to move from the sub-register onto the main Register of practitioners.

‘Health practitioners who want to practise after the sub-register closes and keep contributing to the health workforce should apply now if they haven’t already, including if they want to be eligible for vital roles in administering the COVID-19 vaccines as they are rolled out,’ Mr Fletcher said.

Important information for practitioners

  • 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.
  • Practitioners must apply before 11.59pm on 5, 19 April and 30 June in order to use a streamlined pathway to transition from the sub-register to the national register.
  • After its closure, anyone who is currently on the sub-register will no longer be able to practise unless they make a successful application to continue registration.
  • Practitioners do not need to do anything to remove themselves from the sub-register as it will automatically close and they will either revert to non-practising registration (if this is what they had before going on the sub-register) or drop off the register all together.
  • More information about the pandemic response sub-register and its upcoming closure is in FAQs for practitioners

Important information for employers

  • Employers should check the registration status of anyone employed from the sub-register on the end date (date sub-register closed) in April 2021.
  • If the practitioner has applied for registration and their application is being assessed by Ahpra, then their registration on the sub-register will remain in effect and show on the Register of practitioners after the end date until the application is decided.
  • More information about the pandemic response sub-register and its upcoming closure is in FAQs for employers.

For more information

Page reviewed 30/03/2021